Pew Supports Expansion of California’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Proposal would enhance equitable access to nature and protect a critical drinking water source

WASHINGTON—The Pew Charitable Trusts expressed support today for a proposal that would add approximately 109,000 acres to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument outside of Los Angeles. The monument expansion is the next step in achieving a decades-long community vision for safeguarding the San Gabriel Mountains within the Angeles National Forest—and further connecting Angelenos to nature.

In a city where residents have limited access to open space, the San Gabriels provide millions of visitors each year with opportunities to experience the many benefits of nature. The proposed expansion includes some of the most visited yet under-resourced areas of the mountains, including places near communities—such as the San Fernando Valley—with few protected public lands. Expanding the monument would safeguard the Upper Los Angeles River watershed, a key drinking water source for Los Angeles County and home to rare populations of native fish. It would also protect Indigenous cultural areas, important historic sites, habitat, and wildlife corridors for species such as bighorn sheep and mountain lions.

President Barack Obama designated the 346,177-acre San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in 2014, an important first step in protecting the landscape. Since then, support has continued to grow for more land protections, led by the Nature for All coalition and local elected officials, to ensure that more Angelenos have access to nature’s health and wellness benefits.

Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Representative Judy Chu (D-CA) have joined California community leaders, organizations, and businesses in championing the monument expansion effort. In May, Sen. Padilla re-introduced the PUBLIC Lands Act to protect more than 1 million acres of public lands and 500 miles of rivers in the San Gabriel Mountains, Central Coast, and Northwest California regions. The San Gabriel Mountains provision encompasses the area proposed for expansion, plus additional proposed wilderness and wild and scenic river segments. Concurrently, Rep. Chu introduced companion legislation for the San Gabriel Mountains protections in the House of Representatives.

Marcia Argust, director of Pew’s U.S. public lands and rivers conservation project, issued this statement: 

“The Pew Charitable Trusts is proud to join local elected officials, community organizations, and businesses in support of expanding the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Expanding the monument to include the gateway to the Angeles National Forest is an opportunity to enhance equitable access to nature for underserved communities; conserve a critical watershed; protect important wildlife habitat and corridors; safeguard historic sites and Indigenous cultural areas; and boost the local economy.

“Pew commends Sen. Padilla and Rep. Chu for championing these efforts, and we urge the Biden administration to swiftly advance this locally driven proposal.”

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