The spectacular San Gabriel Mountains provide a natural backdrop for the entire Los Angeles metropolitan area – stretching from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino. The majestic mountains are the recreational “backyard” for more than 17 million Southern Californians.
Congresswoman Judy Chu’s and Senator Kamala Harris’s San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act would:
- Expand the existing San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in the Angeles National Forest in Los Angeles County by 109,143 acres;
- Establish a 51,000-acre San Gabriel Foothills and River National Recreation Area adjacent to and downstream of the Monument;
- Protect 31,000 acres of land as “wilderness,” and;
- Protect 46 miles of stream as “wild and scenic rivers.”
The following is a brief description of each element of the legislation.
National Monument expansion
On October 10, 2014, President Barack Obama designated 346,177 acres of existing federal lands as the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The area is within 90 minutes of 17 million people in the Los Angeles Basin.
According to the Forest Service, “The designation will help ensure these lands remain a benefit for all Americans through rock art that provides a glimpse into ancient civilizations, an observatory that brought the world the cosmos, and thousands of miles of streams, hiking trails and other outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Soaring high above the Los Angeles Basin, the San Gabriel Mountains provide Angelinos with 70 percent of their available open space and 30 percent of their drinking water. The monument serves as the backyard to the nation’s second-largest urban center.
Congresswoman Chu and Senator Harris are working to expand the monument to include additional parts of the Angeles National Forest.
National Recreation Area establishment
The San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act would establish a national recreation area along the San Gabriel River downstream of the Angeles National Forest by uniting parks and open space along the lower San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo channels, the existing Santa Fe Dam and Whittier Narrows Recreation Areas, and the Puente Hills. This will create an exciting network of recreation, conservation and open space lands in a “park poor” region.
Wilderness is the strongest protection available for public land under federal law. Wilderness protection means that these areas will remain free of off-road vehicles, road building and other development while staying open to hiking, horseback riding, camping, hunting and fishing and other non-motorized forms of recreation. The Condor Peak, San Gabriel, Sheep Mountain, and Yerba Buena Proposed Wilderness Areas would be protected as wilderness by the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.
Wild and Scenic Rivers
Wild and scenic status protects our most unspoiled remaining streams on federal land from the construction of new dams or major water diversions without impacting existing water infrastructure. Little Rock Creek and the San Gabriel River would be protected as wild and scenic rivers by the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.
Other San Gabriel Mountain wild lands and waters
Not all San Gabriel Mountain wild places are included in the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. CalWild is also working to protect the Castaic and Cucamonga Proposed Wilderness areas and the Middle Fork Lytle Creek Proposed Wild and Scenic River.
Click the fact sheets link in the sidebar to find out more features of all these protections. Watch the video below to explore some of these proposed protections:
CalWild is working to:
- establish a San Gabriel National Recreation Area (SGNRA) encompassing mountain National Forest lands and adjacent open space and foothill park lands along the San Gabriel River; and
- designate 31,069 acres as wilderness and 46 miles of waterways as wild and scenic rivers, including the upper forks of the San Gabriel River.