Great news: Congresswoman Judy Chu has introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act today. The legislation, cosponsored by Congressman Adam Schiff, will protect 31,069 acres of wilderness — including two new areas, the Yerba Buena and Condor Peak Wilderness — and will also designate 45.3 miles of wild rivers.
Here’s a breakdown of what is being proposed.
Condor Peak Wilderness
Protection: 8,417 acres of public lands in the Lower and Upper Big Tujunga Watersheds. The unit rises abruptly from 1,800 feet on its southern flanks to more than 6,000 feet at its northern boundary near Mt. Gleason.
Benefits: It is hoped that the California Condor will return to this area — part of its historic habitat.
Yerba Buena Wilderness
Protection: 6,774 acres
Benefits: It’s one of the most spectacular undeveloped landscapes in the San Gabriel Mountains. This area offers opportunities for solitude in a natural setting and a variety of recreational experiences.
San Gabriel Wilderness Additions
Protection: 2,027 acres to be added to the existing San Gabriel Wilderness Areas
Benefits: Area has dramatically rising slopes and a variety of flora and fauna. The San Gabriel Wilderness Additions encompasses a portion of the San Gabriel River watershed, which is an important source of clean drinking water.
Sheep Mountain Wilderness Additions
Protection: 13,851 acres to the established Sheep Mountain Wilderness. The Sheep Mountain Wilderness Additions are contiguous with the existing wilderness and add important landscapes to the wilderness area’s northwest and southwest/southern flanks. These additions include several tributary canyons of the San Gabriel River, a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains crest between Mt. Baden Powell and Mt. Hawkins.
Benefits: The area is home to wildlife including its namesake Nelson Bighorn Sheep.
East, West and North Forks of the San Gabriel River
Protection: 25.3 miles in the forest’s largest watershed
Benefits: It’s the source of clean drinking water for Los Angeles County. All three forks support rare native fish populations. Easily accessible segments of the East Fork and North Fork provide outstanding family recreation opportunities, including picnicking, wading, and camping. The upper West Fork is the route of the Gabrieleno National Recreation Trail and the upper East Fork offers unique backcountry hiking, backpacking, and wild trout fishing.
Little Rock Creek
Protection: 20.2 miles
Location: Secluded and crystal-clear northern creek, which flows from the San Gabriel Mountains high country to the Mojave Desert.