House Passes Rep. Chu’s Legislation to Protect San Gabriel Mountains
Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives voted to pass the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, which includes the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27). This bill will 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. The 15,758 acres of expanded wilderness and 14,901 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. 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. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“After a full year of quarantine and social distancing, getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air has never been more important. This is especially true for Los Angelenos. Ours is one of the most park poor areas in the country, which means that for those who want access to outdoor recreation, the San Gabriel Mountains are one of the only and best options. But we do not just rely on these mountains for the well-documented public and mental health benefits that come from access to green spaces. The San Gabriel Mountains also provide 30% of the Los Angeles area’s water, comprise 70% of our County’s open space, and are home to historic habitats of species like the California Condor and Nelson’s Bighorn Sheep. All in the backyard of one the densest urban areas in our country.
“That is why one of my top priorities since entering Congress has been increasing protections and access for these beautiful mountains, forests, and streams. I was so thrilled in 2014 when President Obama responded to my request to designate the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. And now, with this legislation, we can build on that success, expanding the Monument’s boundaries, establishing new wilderness areas, and protecting more than 45 miles of wild and scenic rivers. And thanks to a new San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation area, more Angelenos will be connected to these areas than ever before.
“I’m proud that this bill has passed the House and hope to see it signed soon so we can ensure these areas can be enjoyed by millions for generations to come.”