House Votes to pass Rep. Chu Bill to Expand Protections of and Access to San Gabriel Mountains
Washington, DC — The House of Representatives today voted to pass H.R. 2546, the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act, a package of environmental protection bills that includes 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 establish 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 30,659 acres of new and expanded 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) has introduced a companion bill. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The San Gabriel Mountains, with their beautiful rivers, forests, and mountain trails so close to the density of Los Angeles, are a true gift for the millions who have little to no access to parks or green space. That’s why I want to make sure as many people as possible have the chance to visit, both today and for years in the future. That is what today’s vote will help accomplish. As our city grows and our climate changes, these untouched wild lands and habitats could disappear. The Protecting America’s Wilderness Act will not only preserve this land for future generations, it will also create a National Recreation Area that will let even more Angelenos enjoy our mountains.”
A map of the wilderness designations, monument expansion, and national recreation area can be found online here.