Poll: Californians favor wilderness protections in San Gabriel Mountains

Wildflower in San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Annette Kondo.

The old growth Jeffrey Pines that take root atop one of the most rugged mountain ranges in the country aren’t what immediately comes to mind when one thinks of the Los Angeles area. But these beautiful peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains are just an hour’s drive away for more than 17 million people.

Beyond the fact that the Angeles National Forest, which oversees the largest portion of the range (the rest in the San Bernardino National Forest) is one of the most visited National Forests in the country, a broad range of folks have indicated they support the effort to preserve the last remaining wild places of the San Gabriel Mountains.

A new independent opinion poll released today by San Gabriel Mountains Forever, a diverse coalition of community, faith, business leaders and others, revealed that voters are extremely supportive of the specific proposal to protect additional public lands in the San Gabriel Mountains as federal Wilderness, and rivers and streams as federal Wild and Scenic Rivers with 75% who favor and 15% who oppose. The majority of both Democrats and Republicans support these protections; reaffirming the notion that this is a nonpartisan issue. The poll surveyed likely voters in U.S. Congressman David Dreier’s (R-San Dimas) 26th District that includes views of some of the most pristine sections of the mountains.

Additionally, the San Gabriel Mountains Forever campaign, the partnership leading the effort to protect these wild places has received tremendous and diverse support. Five city councils have passed resolutions or signed letters in support of the campaign. The San Gabriel Valley Association of Governments representing 31 cities and other agencies also supports expanding Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations.

What has been especially exciting is that we have seen support from a broad array of community members. From foundations that support wheelchair recreation to Realtors to churches. It seems that down here in the valleys and cities we do think of those rugged San Gabriel Mountains…and think of them fondly.

photo: Wildflower in San Gabriel Mountains. Photo by Annette Kondo.