Today, President Obama will use his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish 346,177 acres of national forest land in the San Gabriel Mountains in southern California as a national monument, permanently protecting the popular outdoor recreation destination to increase access and outdoor opportunities for the area's residents. This monument designation builds on more than a decade of public support from business, tourism, environmental justice, conservation, academic and cultural preservation communities and on the leadership from members of Congress. For many residents of Los Angeles County -- one of the most disadvantaged counties in the country when it comes to access to parks and open space for minorities and children--the San Gabriel Mountains provide the only available large-scale open space. In addition to permanently protecting this land, the monument designation will create new opportunities for the Forest Service and local communities to work together to increase access and enhance outdoor opportunities.
Building on the monument designation, leading philanthropies are also announcing commitments to help jump-start public involvement and restoration of high-priority projects in Los Angeles County and the new San Gabriel National Monument. The National Forest Foundation announced that they will commit $3 million for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Fund to respond to community priorities and support restoration and stewardship of the new national monument. In addition, the Hewlett, Wyss, Packard, and California Community foundations, the California Endowment, and the Resources Legacy Fund are working to establish a $500,000 San Gabriel Partnership Fund to support recreation and habitat improvement projects in the monument and surrounding communities. Secretary Vilsack and the Forest Service are also stepping up by investing more than a million dollars in additional education staff and maintenance work on the monument’s trails and picnic areas.
More than 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains, which provides 70 percent of the open space for Angeleños and 30 percent of their drinking water. The 346,177 acre site contains high-quality wilderness areas, habitat for rare and endangered animals like the California condor, and a rich array of cultural and historical features.
Add this to the 12 other National Monuments Obama has created or expanded, including the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, and the President has now protected more than 260 million acres of land and water - three times more than any President before him.
Would love to hear in the comments from LA area Kosacks, who are likely more familiar with the geography. Cheers.
POTUS will officially the designate the monument at 3:40pm ET, today. Livestream here:
From kovie in the comments:
I camped in them one summer night over 20 years ago on a cross-country drive, a few miles west of Wrightwood, and was treated to a gorgeous sunset (I think part of that was due to LA's famous smog). The next day I drove by the Mt. Wilson observatory (sadly closed that day) and then into LA and had the best burrito I'd ever had while getting my dust-covered car washed.
Props to Obama. Good move.