Rep. Chu Urges Sec. Vilsack to Protect San Gabriel Mountains

Aug 20, 2014

Pasadena, CA – Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) wrote to the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, welcoming the Administration’s consideration of calls from residents to protect the San Gabriel Mountains by designating the area a national monument. The letter, signed by Reps. Chu, Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), and Linda Sánchez (CA-38), also urged consultation with local communities, specifically along the urban river corridor, to ensure safety, access, and opportunity.

“Residents of the San Gabriel Valley are proud of the area’s natural, historic, and cultural beauty. But services and resources have not matched the heavy use of the public spaces, risking safety and the future enjoyment of the rivers, forests, and parks,” said Rep. Chu. “I am pleased the Administration is taking note of the area’s calls for protection of our treasured resources. But as they consider moving forward, I urge Secretary Vilsack and the USDA to take into account  local needs and concerns. This must include investments in sustainable recreation, new parking areas and trails to expand access for park poor, income poor areas, improvements to education, safety, and multi-language signage, and increased economic opportunities for youth.”

“Since I was a California State Senator, I have made protecting open space in the Rim of the Valley and San Gabriel Mountains a priority. I believe that a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument designation is an important step which would help ensure that these lands can be enjoyed by future generations of Angelinos. As we await a final recommendation from the National Park Service on the creation of a Rim of the Valley National Recreation Area, I look forward to working with leaders throughout our community towards our common goal of preserving these natural areas so we can enjoy their beauty for years to come,” said Rep. Schiff.

“We strongly urge President Obama to declare the Angeles National Forest a national monument,” said Rep. Napolitano. “This designation would continue to protect public lands and ensure our local national treasure will be enjoyed for generations to come. We are glad the U.S. Forest Service will be requesting public input, and we encourage all San Gabriel Valley residents and businesses to participate.”

“The mountains are an environmental and cultural treasure for our region,” said Rep. Sánchez. “I lend my voice to the growing calls asking for the San Gabriel Mountains to be designated as a national monument.  Giving them this designation will protect the mountain’s diverse ecosystem and secure much needed public space for the enjoyment of future generations. As we continue our efforts, I look forward to working with the proper authorities to ensure that our community’s needs are heard and considered.”

“I am proud to support this effort to maintain the beautiful mountain areas that our communities are blessed with,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “The San Gabriel Mountains are a stunning natural resource for all the people of Southern California. It is critical that these treasures are maintained and that they be as accessible as possible to those who traditionally have not had access to parks and open spaces. I thank my colleagues for their efforts to make this happen, and to ensure Secretary Vilsack is aware of the needs of our community.”

The text of the letter can be found here.

In June, in response to local calls to protect the San Gabriel Mountains, Rep. Chu introduced H.R. 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreations Act, which would designate the area a National Recreation Area. This legislation would allow the National Park Service (NPS) to coordinate stakeholders at the Federal, State, and local level throughout the region, and contribute to community-based, community-driven projects focused on sustainable recreation, education, and the preservation of local habitat and history.

On August, 26, Rep. Chu will be speaking at a public discussion on the San Gabriel Mountains hosted by the U.S. Forest Service. She will be joining with local user groups, youth corps, cultural preservation experts, and land management specialists. Details can be found here