Padilla, Chu Welcome Biden Administration Visit to Consider San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Expansion
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representative Judy Chu (D-Calif.-28) welcomed a visit from Biden Administration officials, including U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Dr. Homer Wilkes, to the San Gabriel Mountains for a public listening session on expanding California’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Earlier this year, Padilla and Chu wrote a letter and hosted an event to call on the Biden Administration to expand the Monument boundary by nearly 110,000 acres by issuing a presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The proposal is based off of Padilla’s PUBLIC Lands Act and Chu’s San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act.
“The San Gabriel Mountains have fostered a lifelong connection to nature for many Angelenos, providing important educational, health, and recreational benefits. Thousands of low-income families in the Los Angeles area depend on the Monument as their only source of green space, making clear the need to expand the Monument to make the San Gabriel Mountains even more accessible,” said Senator Padilla. “Today’s visit from the Biden Administration represents a crucial step toward expanding the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and fulfilling a multi-decade effort to protect the mountains. We have received broad and overwhelming support from affected communities, key stakeholders, and all levels of government for adding nearly 110,000 acres of the Western Angeles National Forest to the Monument to protect its significant natural, cultural, and recreational resources. Following today’s listening session, I’m hopeful that we will soon be welcoming the Administration back for the final designation of this natural wonder in its entirety.”
“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 Representative Chu. “I am thankful to USDA for holding today’s public meeting on our monument expansion proposal, and I’m so gratified that advocates for the designation are mobilizing today to make their voices heard. I hope that President Biden will recognize the importance of these lands by designating the western Angeles National Forest as part of the San Gabriel Mountains 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.”
Senator Padilla has introduced legislation to restore and expand protections for over 1 million acres of California’s public lands, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Among other important protections, his Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act would expand the Monument by over 100,000 acres to fulfill the vision of permanently protecting the San Gabriel Mountains. The bill would also designate over 30,000 acres as protected Wilderness and over 45 miles of Wild and Scenic rivers throughout the San Gabriel range.
A copy of the proposed expansion map can be viewed here.