Over 18 million people live within a 90-mile radius of these public lands and the expansion will help ensure and increase equitable access to nature and improve public health for local residents. It will also conserve a critical drinking water source for Los Angeles County and address the climate and biodiversity crises.
These lands are the backyard for many urban and culturally diverse communities that have limited access to green spaces in their neighborhoods. Lack of access to nature has negative health implications and is linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. Ensuring permanent protection of the San Gabriels is critical for the health and wellbeing of millions of Angelenos. In fact, the San Gabriel Mountains make up 70% of the county’s open space and are a popular destination for hiking, picnicking, fishing, biking, camping, swimming, and more.
The San Gabriel Mountains include a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The stories of the original stewards of these lands, the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and Gabrieleño (also known as Kizh, Gabrielino, Tongva) Peoples are part of this sacred place. We honor and pay respect to their elders and descendants; past, present, and emerging. Culture resources in the proposed expansion area include prehistoric archeological sites, and historic sites and landscapes.
Expanding the national monument will help conserve a critical source of drinking water for Los Angeles County residents. The Angeles National Forest provides one-third of the county’s drinking water. Permanently protecting more of this life-giving resource will benefit residents throughout the region.
This proposal will help address the climate and biodiversity crises by protecting important habitat and wildlife corridors and contributing to state and federal goals to conserve 30% of public lands and waters by 2030. The San Gabriel Mountains are an interconnected landscape and a refuge for native wildlife. The proposed expansion area would safeguard wildlife corridors and habitat for species such as black bears, mountain lions, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and the Arroyo toad.
Included in the proposed area for protection is the historic Mount Lowe Railway, which first opened in 1893 and brought residents from Pasadena and other nearby areas to a resort complex at the top of Echo Mountain. This historic railway allowed urban residents to enjoy cooler temperatures, spectacular views, and recreation opportunities in the San Gabriel Mountains.