U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) and Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced legislation Thursday week to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and protect more wilderness in Southern California.
The San Gabriel Mountains Protection Act would expand the monument by 109,167 acres, designate approximately 31,000 acres as new or expanded wilderness areas, and add 45.5 miles to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
“The Los Angeles area is among the most park-poor regions of the country despite being blessed by gorgeous rivers, forests, and mountains of the San Gabriels right in our backyard,” said Chu. “The San Gabriel Mountains provide a unique opportunity—particularly for minority and low-income families—to access the physical, mental, and educational benefits of nearby public lands.”
In 2014, President Obama acted on Chu’s call for permanent protection of the San Gabriel Mountains and declared 346,000 acres as a national monument. The monument designation has helped raise awareness of local recreational opportunities, promoted improved access, and encouraged greater availability of management resources, including enabling the U.S. Forest Service to leverage private-public partnerships to support the stewardship of the monument.
The San Gabriel Mountains Protection Act is the next step in protecting and connecting critical public lands for over 15 million Americans. This legislation expands the monument by 109,167 acres, designates approximately 31,000 acres as new or expanded wilderness areas, and adds 45.5 miles to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
“Our public lands and natural spaces are one of our state’s greatest gifts—from the San Gabriel Mountains, to the Carrizo Plain, to the Northern California Redwoods,” said Padilla. “It is incumbent upon us to be thoughtful stewards of these special places so that our communities can enjoy them and benefit from America’s natural resources for generations to come.”
“Thank you, Representative Chu, for advancing a decades-long vision to protect our San Gabriel Mountains,” said Belén Bernal, Executive Director of Nature for All Coalition.
“Adding lands to the national monument, designating more Wilderness areas, and protecting special rivers as Wild and Scenic are important next steps towards achieving this goal. Over 18 million people live within a 90-mile radius of the San Gabriels and depend on these places for access to nature, time outdoors with family and friends, and tribal rituals and ceremonies, as well as for activities like hiking, swimming, picnicking, and more. We are grateful for your ongoing leadership to ensure that more Angelenos, especially historically underrepresented communities, can enjoy access to these beloved places now and into the future.”