Elected officials, community leaders, and local residents in the Los Angeles region are joining Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Representative Judy Chu (CA-28) in calling on President Biden to add 109,000 acres of public lands to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
Expanding the monument is the next step in a 20-year, locally-driven effort to protect the San Gabriel Mountains. 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, address the climate and biodiversity crises, and honor the cultural and historical significance of the landscape.
In 2014, President Obama designated approximately 346,177 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. This was a critical step towards permanently protecting the mountains. Since then, community support has continued to grow for safeguarding important public lands that were not included in the original designation. The proposed expansion area is considered the “gateway” to the Angeles National Forest. As a result, this area is one of the most visited parts of the forest: in 2021 the forest welcomed 4.6 million visitors (more than the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park).
Sen. Padilla and Rep. Chu are calling on President Biden to use the Antiquities Act to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and have also introduced legislation to achieve this goal. The Antiquities Act is a 1906 law that grants U.S. Presidents the ability to designate federal public lands, waters, and cultural and historical sites as national monuments with a Presidential Proclamation.