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?

(more…)

Public comment period is open for the San Gabriel Mountains Monument Plan

The planning phase for the new management of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is underway. Once developed and approved, it will control how the 350,000 acre area is to be used.

During certain stages of planning, the Forest Service solicits comments from the public. The first official comment period is open now until July 27, 2015.

You may comment via the email link below or contact the Forest Service for more information. You may also request a hard copy of the “scoping letter” that explains the process by calling (626) 574-5278 and asking for Justin Seastrand, Forest Planner. 

Below is the email link for submitting comments:

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/public/commentinput?project=46964

What topics or concerns would you like to see addressed?  Which recreation activities do you enjoy in the forest and don’t want to see limited? Are there areas that are currently closed that you would like to see reopened for recreation?

Every comment will be considered, and concerns that are most frequently mentioned will receive priority. I urge each of you to take the time to let the USFS know of your desires regarding the usage of the natural resources in our backyard. Every opinion is important.

One of my major concerns with this designation is that the San Gabriel River, our primary water source where Glendora collects up to 85% of it’s water, is included within the boundaries. The president’s proclamation, states that there are threatened fish and rare plants living in the river, and there is ongoing debate about whether those species will eventually be given priority over the collection of drinking water. One of my comments will stress the utmost importance of protecting this water source for drinking water.

An additional concern of mine is that there has been serious conversation about creating transportation systems to bring groups of visitors from across the southland to various entrances in the Monument such as at Glendora Mountain Road, Angeles Crest Highway and Highway 39.  One of my comments will stress the importance of working together with foothill cities, including Glendora, to prepare for the impact that an influx of visitors could have— where will they park, how do we provide trail and road maintenance, additional security, and how do we protect the privacy and tranquility of residents who live near the trailheads?

It will be very important for Glendora and other foothill cities to work closely with the USFS on this part of the management planning process, so we urge residents to submit their comments during the June 12th—July 27th public comment window.

Thank you,

signature

 

 

The National Forest Foundation Collaborative Working Group

My purpose for posting updates about the creation of the SG Mountains National Monument management plan, and the Collaborative group, is to inform citizens. I have been pleased to hear from individuals currently working in the San Gabriels to maintain trails, etc, who want to be involved in the process.

I agree that your input is important. Request for inclusion in the Collaborative group needs to be made to the National Forest Foundation. Attached is a link to the NFF website that includes additional information about participation in committees. There are contact emails near the end of the article:

http://www.nationalforests.org/SanGabrielMountains

Thank you,

signature

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.

(more…)