Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) introduced legislation on June 12 that will permanently protect the San Gabriel Mountains and its rivers and improve recreation for this popular destination in Los Angeles County’s backyard.
Rep. Chu’s bill, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act, will preserve over 600,000 acres in the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, some foothill areas, the west Puente Hills, and stretches of the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers.
“We applaud Congresswoman Chu for her strong commitment to preserve outstanding natural areas and improving outdoor recreation opportunities in the nation’s most populous county,” said Dan Smuts, The Wilderness Society’s Senior Regional Director for California. “This legislation represents more than 10 years of efforts to protect the remarkable San Gabriel Mountains for present and future generations to enjoy.”
Most of the San Gabriel Mountains are in the Angeles National Forest which provides Los Angeles County with more than 70 percent of its open space and more than one-third of its drinking water. Its backcountry is home to towering pines, pristine rivers and diverse wildlife including bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions and California condor.
The Angeles National Forest draws more than 3.5 million visitors annually, on par with Yellowstone National Park. The area provides healthy, accessible recreation to an otherwise park-poor region but currently lacks adequate trail signs, restrooms, picnic areas, trash service and rangers. Representative Chu’s legislation aims to significantly improve visitors’ experiences.
The Wilderness Society is a lead partner in San Gabriel Mountains Forever (SGMF) - a partnership of residents, cities, community groups and others - working to protect the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers for families today, as well future generations who will be the stewards of this spectacular natural resource.