It’s a wrap. San Gabriels are a national monument

In view of the haze-shrouded San Gabriel Mountains, President Barack Obama declared 346,117 acres of national forest land the nation’s newest national monument. The more than 540 square miles of the San Gabriel Mountains – stretching from rugged areas of the Angeles National Forest to Telegraph Peak, north of Rancho Cucamonga – are now designated as the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Speaking from Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas Friday afternoon, President Obama addressed the roughly 200 invited guests and played upon our nation’s history before signing the executive order.

“The story of the San Gabriel Mountains is in many ways the story of America,” said the President. “It is the story of communities exploring the Great West, of Native Americans, Spanish missionaries, colonialists and rancheros, merchants and landowners. It’s the story of prospectors in search of gold, of settlers in search of a new life. It’s the story that continues today, with one of the nation’s most vibrant, diverse communities in the backyard of the second-biggest city in the country.”

“There haven’t been enough resources to manage and maintain this area the way it deserves,” he said, adding, “We have a responsibility to be good stewards of those landscapes for future generations.”

The journey to protect the San Gabriel Mountains began eleven and a half years ago with the introduction of a bill by then-Representative Hilda Solis. The result was a 10-year study by the National Park Service, which included 66 stakeholder meetings, and 16,800 public comments, most overwhelmingly in support of more resources for the San Gabriel Mountains and Rivers. After the release of the study, Representative Judy Chu spent one and a half years drafting a bill on the San Gabriel Mountains and Rivers, conducting stakeholder meetings and earning the support of the San Gabriel Council of Governments.

“I’m overjoyed with the President’s declaration,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu. “It’s a historical moment for Angelenos. We’ll finally be able to fix what needs to be fixed…the lack of trails, the lack of safety signage to hikers that have fallen to their death. The national monument designation will finally provide more means to protect our beautiful but under-resourced San Gabriel Mountains.”

More details to follow in the next issue of the COURIER.
—Angela Bailey


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