Defending Public Lands: Utah National Monuments Under Attack

The announcement from President Trump that he signed a proclamation to dramatically reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah is deplorable — and it is not in the best interest of the American people.

We stand in solidarity with those in Utah fighting to protect their national monuments. An attack on one national monument is an attack on all.

Stripping protections of our public lands? Putting the interest of the dirty fuel industries above the interests of the general public? Acting with a blatant disregard for cultural and historic preservation? This is disgraceful.

Given this administration’s disdain for the environment, this is not a surprise. Nor is this the end of our fight.

While California’s public lands were not part of today’s announcement, they remain at risk, including our San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. We will remain committed to our work to protect our beloved national monument.

When the Trump administration announced plans to review the national monuments established by presidents who used powers established by the Antiquities Act, we mobilized to protect the national monument in our backyard. Our voices were loud and clear: we need this land to be protected — and improved — to serve the needs of Angelenos, especially those living in park-poor communities.

So what can YOU do to help? We know this: Our voices matter and we can continue to work on improving our San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Tuesday, December 5, we will be at a 5:30 pm public meeting for the East Fork River Project, and we’re inviting our supporters to join us. (If you cannot attend, sign our letter to make sure the project serves the needs of all Angelenos.) Before the meeting, at 4:45 pm, there will be a rally to defend our national monuments hosted by Nature For All member organization The Sierra Club.

Take Action: Your Stories About the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

The Threat to Public Lands

We have learned that the Antiquities Act, which has been used for Presidents of both parties more than 170 times to protect our public lands, is under attack. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-UT) has introduced H.R. 3990 (The National Monument Creation and Protection Act), which would restrict presidential authority to create new national monuments. The bill would also give presidents the authority to shrink existing national monuments.

The Call to Action

Help us voice our support for public lands preservation of the Antiquities Act, which was used by President Obama to designate our beloved San Gabriel Mountain National Monument.

Because this is a mark-up and not a hearing, no witnesses will be invited to give testimony on Chairman Bishop’s bill. Natural Resources Committee Staff has requested help in collecting personal anecdotes about our personal connections to national monuments that were designated through the Antiquities Act. Nature For All Member organization Sierra Club is collecting stories via this google form and will be passing them off to committee staff to use in member’s statements. Please share your stories before October 11 at 12 pm!

Event Recap: San Gabriel Mountains Monument 3rd Anniversary Celebration

Nature For All coalition members celebrate the third anniversary of the San Gabriel Mountains National monument at Eaton Canyon with Cortada Elementary students, our Leadership Academy, volunteers, friends and supporters.

Event: San Gabriel Mountains Monument 3rd Anniversary Celebration

“The notion of a national monument is interesting because it reminds us that America belongs to all of us — not just some of us. My commitment to conservation isn’t about locking away our natural treasures; it’s about working with communities to open up our glorious heritage to everybody — young and old, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American — to make sure everybody can experience these incredible gifts.” — President Barack Obama

Three years ago, on October 10, 2014, President Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains a National Monument.

To celebrate, Nature For All will be hosting a picnic luncheon at Eaton Canyon (outdoor picnic area) at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Mix and mingle with our team of coalition members, volunteers, stewards and our Leadership Academy participants.

We will also be joined by Cortada Elementary School students to celebrate the Every Kid in a Park (EKIP) initiative, which provides 4th graders with free passes to national parks across the country.

Complimentary lunch will be provided; please RSVP via Eventbrite to guarantee your spot!

Leadership Academy Spotlight: Maricela Rosales

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How did you hear about the Leadership Academy and what inspired you to apply for the program?

I found out about the Leadership Academy when I first began volunteering with Latino Outdoors in Los Angeles. I went to a mixer in Pasadena and met some amazing folks from SGMF who were doing great things for the San Gabriel National Monument and furthering the expansion of the National Monument. I was inspired to apply to learn more about community engagement and seeking better recreation and access for underserved communities in Los Angeles.

What is your project?

The Abilities Project is a civic outdoor education access project though the Leadership Academy — connecting individuals with disabilities to green and open spaces and providing an interactive and educational hike in the San Gabriel Mountains. Disabled people will learn about the history, wildlife, environmental justice, and the importance of civic engagement in protecting access to the San Gabriel Mountain National Monument for their community and beyond.

The first event will take place during the month of October during Disability Awareness Month. October is also the same month that President Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument. I wanted to make this first event important and memorable. There’s still as lot of work to be done.

The Abilities Project’s long term goal is to develop and launch a website and app to help Disabled People connect to green and open spaces in the city or outdoors and to connect to programs and organizations that provide resources and services. The app will create a platform for Disabled People, families, service workers/providers, and transform the way communities come together and advocate for access and recreation through technology.

What’s the best thing you learned?

While in the Leadership Academy, I learned many things. I can’t really pin point the best thing I learned because every class was different and in my opinion very important. I highly recommend applying to the SGMF Leadership Academy. It will change your life.

What surprised you about the program or your work on the project?

I was surprised about how much I had to learn about community engagement, fundraising, and storytelling. It made an impact on my life in a short amount of time. It helped nurture a passion of mine that was kept in my head for such a long time. And now I am slowly but surely working on making it a reality.

Describe what being in the great outdoors means to you.

Being in the great outdoors is a way to connect and heal with oneself. To breathe in fresh air. To get lost in the sounds, smells, vibrations mother nature gives. For me it’s about hitting the trail or rock climbing. It’s about protecting the wildlife that call the great outdoors their home. I find peace when I enter this space and I want others to experience it in their own way.

What’s your favorite way to spend your day in the San Gabriel Mountains?

I have so much to learn about the National Monument and its different terrain. I will say my favorite is rock climbing at Horse Flats Campground. I just started trial running again and I am looking forward to running on trails in the San Gabriel Mountains.

What has post-academy life been like?

It has been exciting and exceptionally busy! Doors are opening for the right reasons. I’ve got a world to change and it’s very humbling and exciting process! My role in Latino Outdoors is changing and there’s room for opportunity if anyone in the Los Angeles area is interested. I recently was picked to be a part of the SHIFTjh Emerging Leaders Program and slowly making moves for the Abilities Project. While at the 2017 Summer Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, UT, I marched on behalf of protecting public lands. I support and help in any way I can to provide volunteer time for organizations like Access Fund, Wilderness Society, and SGMF who are doing great work to get the word out to their communities on how important our National Monuments are to all of us. I hope that more people join the movement and become lifelong constituents. Being pulled in many directions is hard, but at the same time I’m hoping that the long hours and dedication pays off.

Monument Defense Event Recap

IMG_2391What a great event today, with supporters rallying to protect the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, along with other public lands being threatened by the Trump administration.

Daniel Rossman (The Wilderness Society, SGMF) served as emcee for the event, and speakers included Congressmember Judy Chu, Congressmember Adam Schiff, Congressmember Jimmy Gomez, Congressmember Brad Sherman, El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero, Scott Ammons (REI), and San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy graduate Karen Gutierrez.

“These fights are not won overnight,” said Congressmember Jimmy Gomez of the hard work to get the national monument designated. “But now President Trump wants to roll back that designation. And it is a shame because this area is home to so much wildlife, to waterfalls to natural habitat that people get to enjoy. And this hard-fought fight that you all won, we have to continue it. We have make sure that President Trump and his administration know that there is no lack of public involvement in this area. That you guys had those meetings time and time again. We had those champions of this area making sure that everyone’s voice was heard….”

“We are here because our beloved San Gabriel Mountains national monument is being threatened,” said Congressmember Judy Chu, who pointed to the benefits of having national monument status, as well as the progress that’s been made since its designation in 2014. “Now Angelenos, especially minorities, will have more opportunities to experience this wonderful piece of nature. It’s easier to get to the mountains, rivers, and forests, with safer trails and more signs in more languages so everybody can benefit from this monument.”

Congressmember Adam Schiff stressed that “we need bipartisan support in Congress to protect this area even more,” adding “the urgency now is protection of our monuments, of our open space.”

“This is the direction in which must move — forward, not backward, protecting our public lands not exploiting them,” said Schiff. “Being good stewards of nature, not putting it at further risk…. This is a proud legacy of so many presidents. But like so many other actions, this current president would tear down what others have done, offering nothing constructive in its place. But we are gathered here in these numbers to say, ‘This, like everything else, we will resist.’ ”

San Gabriel Mountains Forever Leadership Academy graduate Karen Gutierrez shared her experience growing up in a park-poor community, adding that the national monument provides “the best option to experience fresh air, flowing rivers, and open spaces all in one area.”

“We cannot afford to lose the San Gabriel Mountains national monument,” she said. “Rather, we need to expand it and improve access… so that park-poor communities like my own can enjoy all the health and recreational benefits it has to offer.”

More Photos:

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Coverage of the event:

ABC7 News: Lawmakers fight to keep San Gabriel Mountains a national monument

Los Angeles Daily News: 100 supporters, 4 local members of Congress blast Trump’s review of national monuments

Los Angeles Daily News: Interior Department won’t eliminate national monuments but some may shrink

Patch: Trump May Shrink San Gabriel Mountains National Monument