Rep. Chu Introduces Bill to Expand Wilderness Protection
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act to add 31,069 acres of protected wilderness to Southern California. This includes 6,774 acres of Yerba Buena Wilderness, 2,027 acres of San Gabriel Wilderness, and 13,851 acres of Sheep Mountain Wilderness. In addition, the bill protects 25.3 miles of the East, West, and North Forks of the San Gabriel River and 20.2 miles of the Little Rock Creek. The San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act is cosponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28).
Wilderness is a federal designation that protects “relatively undisturbed” Forest Service land. It is 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. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
“The San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act has been decades in the making, going back to the 1980s. In 2011, I was proud to work with Rep. David Dreier on a wilderness bill, and today I am thrilled to be leading this bill in this Congress. National Monument designation meant that more Angelenos would have access to these forests and rivers. Wilderness designation ensures that the wildlife in those forests and rivers within the monument will remain unchanged for generations. This designation is especially critical for protecting our drinking water, much of which comes from these mountains. I’m particularly pleased to have the support of the San Gabriel Valley Water Association, which represents water agencies in the San Gabriel Valley. It is my hope that we can move forward with this important bill to protect one of the Los Angeles area’s few outdoor opportunities without compromising private property, water use, and other existing claims.”
An FAQ sheet can be found here.