San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
- Location: Los Angeles County, CA
- Presidential Proclamation: October 10, 2014
- Size: 346,177 acres
- Managing agency: U.S. Forest Service
- Editorial: How to protect the San Gabriel Mountains – Los Angeles Times, Oct. 7, 2014
- The Antiquities Act and the San Gabriel Mountains – Huffington Post, Oct. 21, 2014
- Obama designates San Gabriel Mountains national monument: Why it took 11 years – Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 10, 2014
- What the new San Gabriel mountains national monument means for Southern California – KPCC Southern California Public Radio, Oct. 10, 2014
- Past and present meet in L.A.’s uncertain wilderness- Los Angeles Times, Oct. 8, 2014
- Opinion:San Gabriel Mountains Should be Protected as a National Monument, Fox New Latino, Sept. 12. 2014
“Los Angeles has the largest Asian Pacific Islander community in the nation. Local churches, school groups, community organizations, business leaders and youth care deeply about protecting the San Gabriel Mountains. We connect with our faith and each other. We find solace and inspiration in nature. We value the clean water and open space the San Gabriel Mountains provide. These national public lands are just that – a national treasure that belongs to the public. We are grateful Rep. Chu has called on the president to protect the mountains and ensure they are open to all of us, and preserved for future generations,” Mark Masaoka, policy director of the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON)
The San Gabriel Mountains are an irreplaceable natural and community resource. Protecting this area as a national monument helps ensure the sustainability of Southern California’s clean water, enhancing the ability of visitors to access and enjoy the mountains and rivers, while safeguarding cultural and natural treasures for future generations.
Rising above Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Mountains are a dramatic landmark in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests. The Angeles National Forest provides Los Angeles County one-third of its drinking water and more than 70 percent of its open space.
More than 17 million people live within an hour’s drive of the mountains, making them the region’s most accessible and popular “backyard” for those who visit the rivers and forests.
The National Monument designation will improve water quality and fishing by reducing trash and pollution in and along the forest portion of the San Gabriel River. It will also protect crucial open space in area where a shortage of parks and open space limits opportunities for children to be physically active and connect with nature.
The rich cultural history of these mountains echoes their striking geologic features and ecological diversity. Cultural resources represent successive layers of history, including that of Native Americans, Spanish missionaries and colonialists, Mexican rancheros, and Euro-American settlers and prospectors. Native American history runs deep, at least 8,000 years, exemplified by the Aliso-Arrastre Special Interest Area known for its heritage resource values, including several rock art and cupules features, the concentration of which is unique to southern California.
Although proximate to one of America’s most urban areas, the region has untrammeled wilderness lands of the highest quality, including four designated wilderness areas: San Gabriel, Sheep Mountain, Pleasant View Ridge, and Magic Mountain. These lands provide invaluable backcountry opportunities for the rapidly expanding nearby communities and also provide habitat for iconic species including the endangered California condor and least Bells’ vireo, and the Forest Service Sensitive Nelson’s bighorn sheep, bald eagle, and California spotted owl.
This designation came in response to more than a decade of Los Angeles County residents asking elected officials to protect and improve stewardship of the San Gabriel Mountains, rivers and parks.
Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) worked with local and national Latino and Asian Pacific Islander groups, veterans organizations, conservation groups, and sportsmen’s organizations to identify the best way to address concerns about safeguarding the quality of LA County’s drinking water, enhancing services for the 17 million people use the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers for hunting, hiking and outdoor recreation.
In August 2014, Under Secretary for Natural Resources Robert Bonnie and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell convened a public meeting in Los Angeles County, which included Rep. Chu, Los Angeles County Supervisor-elect Hilda Solis, other local leaders and hundreds of county residents.
Public opinion polling at that time also demonstrated that 80 percent of Los Angeles County voters support the proposed protection of the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers.