On Wednesday, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, establish a National Recreation Area (NRA) along the foothills and San Gabriel River corridor, and designate over 30,000 acres of protected wilderness and 45.5 miles of protected rivers in Southern California. This bill would expand the borders of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include the western Angeles National Forest. It also establishes an NRA to enhance conservation, increase access for all communities by connecting park poor areas to open space, and improve the management of the area through improved resources, education, and public engagement. The 15,878 acres of expanded wilderness and 15,191 acres of new wilderness areas will benefit from the highest form of protection of any federal wildland. These areas of untouched nature will remain open to hiking, camping, and other recreation activities encouraged in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, but commercial activities and motorized vehicles will be prohibited in order to prevent over-development, pollution, and habitat destruction. Private property and other existing rights and claims will be unchanged. In the Senate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced a companion bill. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The Los Angeles area is one of the most park poor areas of the country, despite the presence of the gorgeous rivers, forests, and mountains of the San Gabriels just to the north. President Obama’s National Monument designation increased access to and opportunities for learning and exploring in the mountains, but so much land remains to be preserved so that more people can experience our area’s unique gifts of nature. That is why I am proud to work with Senator Harris to advance the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. This legislation represents the next step in protecting and connecting the San Gabriel Mountains, and will preserve thousands of acres of land and water for future generations.”
This bill is cosponsored by Representatives Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Katie Hill (D-CA), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA), Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Salud O. Carbajal (D-CA), and Jared Huffman (D-CA).