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Rep. Chu Testifies on Her Legislation to Expand Protections of and Access to San Gabriel Mountains

July 11, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today, Rep. Judy Chu testified before the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands in support of her bill, the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act (HR 2215). This bill would expand the borders of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to include the western Angeles National Forest. It 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. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“The San Gabriel Mountains provide 30% of Southern California’s water, comprise 70% of Los Angeles County’s open space, and are home to historic habitats of species like the California Condor and Nelson Bighorn Sheep. That makes them the best, and one of the only, options for outdoor recreation for Los Angeles County, which averages just 3.3 acres of park space per 1,000 people. Already, President Obama’s National Monument declaration has increased funding and resources for these mountains, allowing more visitors to appreciate these trails and rivers more safely. But there is still so much work to be done. That is why we need to expand the National Monument boundaries, protect more wilderness areas, and establish a new San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area to further connect urban and wild places, helping more communities improve access to the mountains and provide new recreation opportunities. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share the importance of these mountains and wilderness areas with the Committee and I’m eager to see this bill voted on soon so we can continue our work of preserving, protecting, and appreciating our environment.”