Published : Monday, November 25, 2019 | 7:47 PM
The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee voted last week in favor Pasadena Congresswoman Judy Chu’s measure, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act, or House Resolution 2215.
With a 20-13 vote, H.R. 2215 would expand the borders of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include the western Angeles National Forest.
“I am so grateful to the House Natural Resources Committee for today’s markup to advance this legislation, which is so important to my district and the entire Los Angeles area,” Chu said after the vote. “The San Gabriel Mountains provide some of the only outdoor spaces for millions of Angelenos. They’re especially important for communities of color and lower-income communities who have the least access to green spaces. That is why I have been working for years to expand wilderness protections and improve access so that these areas can be safely enjoyed by millions for generations to come. And with today’s vote, we are closer than ever.”
H.R. 2251 would also establish a San Gabriel National Recreation Area, as a unit of the National Park System, to enhance conservation, increase access for all communities by connecting park poor areas to open space, and improve the management of the area through improved resources, education, and public engagement.
With the measure, the 15,878 acres of expanded wilderness and 15,191 acres of new wilderness areas will benefit from the highest form of protection of any federal wildland. These areas of untouched nature will remain open to hiking, camping, and other recreation activities encouraged in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, but commercial activities and motorized vehicles will be prohibited in order to prevent over-development, pollution, and habitat destruction, a statement from Chu’s office said.
Private property and other existing rights and claims will be unchanged.
In the U.S. Senate, California Senator Kamala Harris introduced a similar bill in December 2018. The bill, S.3704, is now in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.