House Committee Advances Rep. Chu Bill to Expand Protections of and Access to San Gabriel Mountains
Washington, DC — The House Natural Resources Committee today voted 20-13 in favor of H.R. 2215, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), H.R. 2215 would expand the borders of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include the western Angeles National Forest. It would also establishes a National Recreation Area 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.
“I am so grateful to the House Natural Resources Committee for today’s markup to advance this legislation, which is so important to my district and the entire Los Angeles area," said Rep. Chu. "The San Gabriel Mountains provide some of the only outdoor spaces for millions of Angelenos. They’re especially important for communities of color and lower-income communities who have the least access to green spaces. That is why I have been working for years to expand wilderness protections and improve access so that these areas can be safely enjoyed by millions for generations to come. And with today’s vote, we are closer than ever.”
“Millions of people travel near and far to enjoy the pristine beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains, a treasured natural gem. The designation of a National Monument was meant to preserve and enhance the natural, historic, and scenic resources of the San Gabriel Mountains and the valley,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “When I was in Congress, I led the effort to seek federal protection for the San Gabriel Mountains, and I am grateful to Congresswoman Judy Chu for her leadership in achieving National Monument status for the area. We must continue to enhance conservation, increase access for all visitors to this unique space, and improve management through additional resources, education, and community engagement.”