San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Update

November, 2016

Now that the election is over, it seems a good time to offer an update on an issue that I have been following for several years, The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

History:

  • In Oct. of 2014, President Obama issued a proclamation declaring over 346,000 acres in the Angeles National Forest a National Monument. That 2 page proclamation is the guiding document for care of the Monument.  It discusses the special features of the Monument that must be preserved and protected, and the millions of people in the region who will visit it.
  • It directed the Forest Service to create a management and transportation plan for the Monument within 3 years, to be completed by Oct. 2017.
  • Additionally, because the Monument is within such close proximity to the 10 million residents of LA County, the proclamation directed the FS to engage maximum public involvement in the development of that plan.

What has been done so far?

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San Gabriel Monument Update

I gave an update on the San Gabriel National Monument at a recent Glendora City Council meeting and would like to pass along the information.

Background: In October of 2014, President Obama used his Executive Order to declare 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Monument (NM). Within his proclamation, is a directive that the United States Forest Service (USFS) must create a new management plan for the forest over the next three years. That plan will determine, among other things, future decisions regarding water usage, recreation access and land management in the National Monument.

Update: Part of the stated mission of the USFS in the creation of the new management plan is to receive input from the public. To help with that, the USFS tasked its nonprofit arm, the National Forest Foundation (NFF), with creating a Collaborative group comprised of people representing various interests. I requested a seat at the table to represent the City of Glendora.  I was approved by the NFF and also by my fellow council members at our February 24th City Council meeting.

Ultimately, the USFS will be determining the new management plan for the San Gabriels internally. However, they stated that they will rely on this new collaborative group to help identify where there is broad community support on issues pertaining to the management of the mountains and, also, where there are concerns. They suggested that the Collaborative might stay in place even after the management plan is finalized.

On March 4th, the first meeting for this newly formed Collaborative was held. It was a 6 hour workshop with 45 invitees who represent interests such as the environment, local government, recreation, native tribes, environmental and health justice, water, local conservancies and education. We defined the group’s purpose statement, goals and the intended audience, along with the adoption of a Code of Conduct for members.

Glendora is the only city with a council member specifically representing it’s interests on the Collaborative. During the meeting, I raised the issue of needing more seats at the table for the foothill cities that border the monument. These cities are home to over half a million residents and will be most affected by the new management plan. Resolution of my concern was postponed for further discussion at later meetings.

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Presidential signature to bypass vote on fate of San Gabriel Mountains?

On Monday, Aug. 18th, 2014 Congresswoman Judy Chu held a press conference to announce that she has requested President Obama use the Antiquities Act to turn large portions of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests into a National Monument. This would allow the legislation to bypass a congressional vote and be enacted with a presidential signature. Attached below is an article about this from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The US Forest Service is holding a promotional meeting which is open to the public on Tuesday, August 26th from 4:00-7:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Park Performing Arts Center, 4640 North Maine Avenue, Baldwin Park, CA 91706. Please attend if you are able. I have attached a meeting announcement from the Sierra Club. It’s the same one being used by several groups who are in support of a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  Lobbyists for these groups are expected to be attending this event to show consensus.

Congresswoman Chu cited a recent poll of just 400 voters in Los Angeles County that showed strong support among residents for the creation of a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. That poll is also attached below.

The National Recreation Area legislation was studied for years before it became a Congressional bill. Many cities and stakeholders reviewed the proposed legislation and provided feedback. A San Gabriel National Monument has not been studied in our region nor has public comment been received, however it is moving forward quickly.

Much more information needs to be gathered regarding exactly what would be entailed by making the San Gabriel Mountains into a National Monument. If you are able to attend the upcoming meeting being held by the US Forest Service and Congresswoman Chu, please do so.

As always, I welcome your comments.

Judysignature

Mayor, City of Glendora, CA

SG National Monument SGV Tribune Article Aug. 2014

 SG National Monument Meeting Info

SG National Monument Poll

National Recreation Area Town Hall Meeting

The Glendora Chamber of Commerce Legislative Action Committee

is hosting

A Town Hall Meeting

To discuss the proposed legislation to overlay approximately 621,000 square miles of the San Gabriel Mountains and Valley with a National Recreation Area.

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 7pm

Citrus Valley Association of Realtors

504 E. Route 66, Glendora, 91740

San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area (NRA)

For the past two years, I’ve been studying three pieces of legislation proposed by Congresswoman Judy Chu, California District 27.  In March of 2014 official drafts were released:

NRA draft legislation PDF

Wilderness draft legislation PDF

Wild and Scenic Rivers draft legislation PDF

If passed, the legislation would create a San Gabriel National Recreation Area (NRA). This would place a National Park overlay upon approximately 621,860 acres of the San Gabriel Valley and the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.

Several dozen cities along the foothills and San Gabriel River are included in the NRA boundaries, from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino and south along the San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo Rivers to Santa Fe Springs. Additionally, in the San Gabriel Mountains, sections of the river would be designated as “Wild and Scenic” and sections of the mountain range as “Wilderness.” These designations would modify the type of access and usage allowed in those areas.

Should we rejoice, be concerned or both? A closer look:
NRA map
Proposed NRA map PDF
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