Padilla, Chu Call on the Biden Administration to Expand San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
LOS ANGELES, CA — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-28) were joined by elected officials and community leaders in urging the Biden administration to expand the boundary of California’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by issuing a presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The proposed designation would protect nearly 110,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains’ significant natural, cultural, and recreational resources. A copy of the proposed expansion map can be viewed here and letter can be found here.
“For Angelenos, the San Gabriel Mountains have been a lifelong connection to nature,” said Senator Padilla. “For many low-income families in the Los Angeles area, this is the only access they have to green space and the educational and health benefits that come with it. And it is critical that we protect these public lands to promote environmental justice in our communities. That is why we are urging President Biden to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to fulfill the complete vision of permanently protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and all of their natural wonders.”
“The San Gabriel Mountains are among the most pristine and beautiful public lands in the country, and they are right here next to one of the nation’s densest and most park-deprived population centers,” said Congresswoman Chu. “I’m so grateful to the diverse, vibrant group of leaders of this more than 20-year movement to protect the San Gabriel Mountains, and I hope that President Biden will recognize the importance of these lands by designating the western Angeles National Forest as part of the National Monument. From increased access to nature for underserved communities to protecting the source of one-third of LA County’s drinking water, our region’s economy, health, and environment will extensively improve from such a designation by the President.”
“As legislators, we are responsible for advocating and providing a safe environment for our communities and fighting for a better future for our children and grandchildren,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “I am a proud original co-sponsor of Congresswoman Chu’s bill to protect and expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. These mountains are a lifeline that provides a third of Los Angeles’ drinking water and 70% of open space to more than 15 million people. We must come together and take all the necessary steps we can to protect and preserve our natural lands, wildlife, and ecosystems.”
“California is home to some of the most beautiful places in the world, and outdoor recreation is part of our identity,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “I’m excited to stand with Senator Padilla, Congresswoman Chu, local leaders, tribal partners and the Los Angeles Nature of All coalition to support expansion of the San Gabriel National Monument and protection of our incredible public lands. Together we can expand outdoor opportunities for all Californians, move closer to conserving 30 percent of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030, and create lasting benefits for families and communities across the state.”
“The San Gabriel Mountains are a critical open space for many communities in Los Angeles County that lack green space and suffer from health issues,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, First District. “I appreciate Senator Padilla and Representative Chu for their efforts to continue what I had initiated during my Congressional tenure to ensure that more Angelenos, especially historically underserved communities, can enjoy this beloved region now and for generations to come. I support adding these lands to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument for the benefit of all.”
“I’m hopeful President Biden will hear our coalition’s collective call to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument’s boundaries,” said Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “Every Los Angeles County resident in every neighborhood deserves safe and accessible nature, parks, and open space. Connecting with nature benefits our mental health and overall well-being. As local leaders, we must do everything possible to ensure our communities and visitors alike have equitable access to explore nature. It’s a stabilizing space that makes a big difference in many people’s lives.”
“I am thankful to be in the company of esteemed leaders to call on the Biden Administration to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in our own backyard. More than 125 years ago the Mt Lowe Railway took visitors from far and wide up the steep slopes of the San Gabriel’s. Today, the proposed expansion is the source of 40 percent of Pasadena’s drinking water supply. We are grateful to Representative Judy Chu and Senator Padilla for championing efforts to expand the additional wilderness areas, and protections to the San Gabriel River and Little Rock Creek. Just being surrounded by bountiful nature, rejuvenates and inspires us which is so important in our everyday lives for so many reasons both and mentally and physically,” said Pasadena Mayor Victor M. Gordo.
“Los Angeles County is one of the most densely populated areas in the nation and millions of our region’s residents have limited access to the outdoors,” said Belén Bernal, Executive Director, Nature for All. “We know that lack of access to nature has negative health implications and is linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes. That’s why it is so important that we ensure the permanent protection of the San Gabriel Mountains. This is one of the few places Angelenos can go to enjoy the outdoors close to home.”
“As a habitat for countless plants and wildlife, expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is critical to preserving biodiversity in the face of a changing climate. This is an opportunity to further preserve one-third of Los Angeles County’s clean drinking water and create additional recreational opportunities for underserved communities,” said Mike Young, Political and Organizing Director, EnviroVoters. “We applaud the leadership of Senator Padilla and Representative Chu and call on the Biden Administration to protect our biodiversity, water, and green spaces.”
Padilla has introduced legislation to restore and expand protections for over 1 million acres of California’s public lands. The Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act would increase protections for public lands throughout northwest California, the Central Coast, and Los Angeles. Notably, it would expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by over 100,000 acres to fulfill the vision of permanently protecting the San Gabriel Mountains. The legislative package would also advance the nation’s and California’s goals of conserving 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.
A recording of the press conference can be viewed HERE.
For a list of quotes from supporters, click HERE.