“Designating the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Monument will ensure its resources are managed properly and protected for future generations to enjoy.” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
LOS ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) October 08, 2014
A diverse partnership of cities, residents and organizations applaud the announcement that President Barack Obama will designate a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The San Gabriel Mountains, north of Los Angeles within the Angeles National Forest, provide one third of the region’s clean water supply and 70 percent of the region’s open space.
“For more than a decade, community support has steadily grown for the permanent protection of the San Gabriel Mountains,” said Andre Quintero, Mayor of El Monte, located in the San Gabriel Valley. “On behalf of San Gabriel Valley residents, I want to thank Congresswoman Judy Chu and the California delegation, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and President Obama for working with our communities to make that vision a reality.”
Supporters include state and local officials, business and community leaders, environmental justice organizations, churches, water districts, veterans, educators and thousands of residents. Years of public meetings - plus more than 12,000 public comments - built support for better protection of the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers and improved visitor services.
Recent polling showed four in five Los Angeles County voters (80 percent) express support for protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers - with almost universal support (88 percent) among Latinos.
“The San Gabriel Mountains are a vital natural and cultural resource,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “Designating the area as a National Monument will ensure its resources are managed properly and protected for future generations to enjoy.”
More than 17 million people live within an hour’s drive of the San Gabriel range, making the Angeles National Forest one of the nation’s busiest forests with more than 3.5 million annual visitors. Given the diversity of Los Angeles and its adjacent communities, local leaders are encouraged that the national monument designation will provide improved visitor services including safe river access, more rangers, and multilingual/multicultural signs and displays.
“For our community – and all visitors to the mountains – the national monument fulfills a long-held dream to improve recreation for the greater LA and Southern California region which lacks green space and parks,” said Mark Masaoka, Policy Coordinator for the Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON). “The monument is a powerful first step to connect Asian Pacific Islanders to the forest so that they will be caretakers for its clean water, fresh air and rich cultural history.”
Omar Gómez, Director of Programs and Public Policy for COFEM, a leading Los Angeles non-profit committed to empowering Latino immigrants, described his promotores (community leaders) and the trips they lead to the forest. “I am always moved by the personal stories that are inspired by these visits,” Gómez said. “The San Gabriel Mountains and rivers often remind them of Mexico and Central America and they see the importance of wild lands. This inspires them to value and protect the San Gabriels for their children and future generations.”
The national monument designation is expected to permanently protect a significant portion of the Angeles National Forest and a section of the San Bernardino National Forest. The forest and rivers provide essential habitat for endangered and sensitive species including Nelson’s bighorn sheep, California condors, mountain lions and native fish. The designation will only apply to lands currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service and will ensure that the public lands remain open to outdoor recreation and will not affect private property or water rights.
President Obama’s national monument designation is under the authority of the Antiquities Act which was first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument will be the 13th use of the Antiquities Act by the President.
“The San Gabriel Mountains are a dramatic landmark that can be seen from the desert to the sea,” said San Gabriel Mountains Forever chair Daniel Rossman. “And when it becomes a national monument, the forest will receive the recognition and attention it so rightfully deserves.”
Sarah Hersh, sarah(at)fcpcommunications(dot)com, (510) 550-8170
Daniel Rossman, daniel_rossman(at)tws(dot)org, (310) 415-6238
San Gabriel Mountains Forever (SGMF) is a diverse partnership of residents, cities, local businesses, health and environmental justice organizations, faith and community leaders, and recreation and conservation groups. The vision of San Gabriel Mountains Forever is: Protection and enhancement of our mountains, rivers and parks with access for all. http://www.sangabrielmountains.org