Story by André Sanchez | Community Engagement & Conservation Policy Manager
During the last week of June, CalWild staff (A. Sanchez and L. Castro) had the privilege of attending a community and partner event at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Held at Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and organized as part of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (SGNM) expansion effort, CalWild joined the celebratory event that was led by our partners including those in the Nature for All coalition and Latino Outdoors.
A joint effort to expand and protect the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
Not only was there broad representation from the different organizational partners and the community members they work with, but several government representatives and community leaders were present as well. Some of those voices included Los Angeles County (L.A. County) Supervisors, L.A. County Parks Department leaders, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo, and local tribal voices in Chief Anthony Morales and Tribal President Rudy J. Ortega of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. Elected officials voicing their support of the effort at the federal level included Rep. Tony Cardenas, together with our champions, Rep. Judy Chu and Sen. Alex Padilla. The event began with Chief Morales’ son, Andy Morales, who is a spiritual leader in his community, providing a blessing and prayer for the group and the space where we were gathered.
Calling on President Biden to use the Antiquities Act
The event was not only an opportunity for local community to gather, celebrate, enjoy nature and food, but also a call to action from leaders and community to President Biden to use his executive power to expand the SGNM via the Antiquities Act of 1906, which provides presidents with the authority to designate national monuments in order to protect objects of cultural, historical, and scientific significance. Doing so would meet multiple conservation goals including permanently protecting landscapes to safeguard access for the enjoyment of all and broadening protections of important watersheds and other natural resources for the communities that depend on them including local Tribes.
Also, it would meet the state and national goals of protecting 30×30 (part of an international movement to utilize nature-based solutions to combat climate change, protect. biodiversity, and build a more resilient future). As related to the state 30×30 goal, Secretary Wade Crowfoot of the California Natural Resources Agency was present and voiced the Newsom Administration’s support for the effort.
While this is just the start of making sure that the SGNM is expanded and further protected, CalWild will be hard at work with our partners to make sure the momentum stays alive. For more information about the SGNM campaign, please visit: https://sangabrielmountainsforever.org/