Nature for All applauds key House of Representatives hearing on historic San Gabriel Mountains legislation

LOS ANGELES, CA — We are extremely pleased to announce the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act was considered in a key hearing in the United States House of Representatives. The historic legislation, introduced in April by Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Judy Chu, will protect wild lands, open space and rivers and improve recreation opportunities in Los Angeles County. Stretching from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino, these open space resources, particularly the San Gabriel Mountains, are the recreational “backyard” for more than 17 million Southern Californians.



“Since the designation of the National Monument, we’ve seen our rivers cleaned up, our picnic areas cleared of trash, increased access to trails that are safer and better marked, more rangers interacting with visitors, and most importantly, our entire community at the table developing the management plan for our San Gabriel Mountains,” said Congresswoman Chu. “Building on that success through the San Gabriel Mountains Foothill and Rivers Protection Act will mean more Angelenos – many of whom are among those with the least access to parks in the country – will be able to experience these rivers, forests, mountains, and trails in a safe and sustainable way that supports our entire area.”

This is a historic progress in the effort to protect and restore the best remaining parts of our public lands in the Los Angeles region. The legislation will:

  • Expands the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by adding approximately 109,143 acres in the upper Los Angeles River watershed;
  • Establishes the San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area for the San Gabriel and San Jose Foothills and the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers comprised of over 51,000 acres;
  • Expands Wilderness area designations within the San Gabriel Mountains by 31,069 acres; and
  • Designates 45.5 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers (WSR) in the San Gabriel Mountains

With the Committee Hearing, Representative Chu has put us one step closer to implementing our vision, which is that everyone in the Los Angeles area – no matter where they live – has equitable access to the wide range of benefits that nature can provide.

###

About Nature for All

Nature for All, formerly known as San Gabriel Mountains Forever, is a coalition of 11 organizations working to build a diverse base of support for ensuring that Nature for All is best known as the leading community group that built support for the designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in 2014. For more than a decade, Nature for All has been advocating for policies and programs to protect the mountains, rivers and parks in our area, create more natural spaces, and connect people to public lands. We bring together local, state and national organizations to develop leaders who advocate for policies and programs to positively impact our historically-underserved communities.

Apply to the Leadership Academy!

FALL 2019 Leadership Academy

Applications for the FALL 2019 term (July – November 2019) are now OPEN. Applications are due Thursday, July 11th, 2019.

Our Goal

To find, educate, develop and encourage environmental stewards to care for our public lands and to advocate for the protection and enhancement of our mountains, forests, rivers, parks, and urban open spaces.

Our Work

The Leadership Academy is a five-month training program of Nature For All that focuses on developing organizing and advocacy skills, civic engagement, and local community action.

Our Progress

Since 2011, the Leadership Academy has graduated 15 cohorts and a total of 165 individuals.

Leadership Academy Projects: Academy graduates have successfully executed 60+ community engagement projects around Los Angeles, San Gabriel Valley, and in the San Fernando Valley. Projects have included leading educational bike tours of the watershed area; organizing community workshops to raise awareness on protecting public lands among park-poor communities; and painting trash receptacles along the West and East forks of the San Gabriel River.

Read more about Leadership Academy projects.

Learn more about the Leadership Academy.

2018 Nature for All Impact Report

Nature for All’s mission is to build a diverse base of support to ensure that everyone in the Los Angeles area has equitable access to the wide range of benefits which nature provides. We’re committed to building support to protect, create access to our forests, rivers, and parks, and developing a new diverse generation of environmental leaders and stewards who connect to and care for our public lands.

As you’ll see throughout our report, 2018 has been a banner year for Nature for All. We celebrated numerous achievements and milestones, including tremendous policy wins, such as the Safe Clean Water Program and the development of equitable grant guidelines for Measure A; finalized the SGM Mountains Monument Plan; completed the Metro Transit to Parks Plan; established a new office in a central SGV location; filed Articles of Incorporation with four committed advisory board members; and launched our Community Leadership Development Program.

With more than a decade of experience, Nature for All has coordinated efforts among a diverse array of organizations and constituencies to restore and protect the San Gabriel Mountains and watershed. We partner with local, state, and national agencies to fund and coordinate policy initiatives, ongoing sustainability programming, and on-the-ground community projects that recognize the region’s diverse and rich natural, historical, and cultural heritage.

Because of your continued support, all of this has been possible for Nature for All. As we work with tireless passion over the next year, we invite you to join us!

Belinda Faustinos

Executive Director

Roberto Morales

Chair, Nature for All Coalition

Introducing Nature For All

nature for all twitter icon logoWe’re excited to announce the San Gabriel Mountains Forever (SGMF) coalition is relaunching today with a new name: Nature For All!

Today’s relaunch represents a sign of growth. In 2016, we embarked on a path to become a non-profit organization. As we took on more projects to connect Angelenos to nature, we realized we needed a new identity to better reflect our larger vision.

Since 2008, San Gabriel Mountains Forever has worked with local communities on protecting the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers. This work has included building support for protection of, and increased access to, our forests, rivers and parks, and developing a new, diverse generation of environmental stewards to care for our public lands.

We achieved a tremendous victory in 2014, when President Barack Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Since then, we’ve worked on making sure the Monument Plan serves our communities and we will continue this work as a program of Nature For All. In addition to protecting the mountains and rivers in our area, we are now working on creating more natural spaces, such as parks and bike paths, in our historically underserved neighborhoods, and connecting people and public lands — through more trails and other outdoor recreational opportunities. With this broader scope of work, we needed a new identity to better represent what we do.

The Nature For All mission: “To work to build a diverse base of support for ensuring that everyone in the Los Angeles area —no matter where they live—has equitable access to the wide range of benefits that nature can provide.”

Read more about us and what we do.

Leadership Academy Spotlight: Maricela Rosales

IMG_3124

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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

The Public Speaks: Why We Need the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Below, a small sampling of the thousands of comments we have collected in support of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. (Our letter.)

sgmf insta monument comment 1

“The San Gabriel Mountains are a unique place ecologically, historically and culturally. Allowing them to exist unprotected in the current political climate we’re living in would be irresponsible and irreverent to all of us who cherish this land. Thank you for your efforts in protecting what we need and love.” – Christina

“From our home in Wrightwood, CA, we are awed by the beauty of these mountains every day… We need all the resources possible to keep it for future generations and to maintain it for many hikers who traverse our Pacific Coast Trail every year from Mexico to Canada. If you could only see Catalina Island and Azusa Canyon framed be two 10,000 foot mountains, you would understand the imperative of preserving this precious, precious land.” – Kenneth

“I am on the north side of the San Gabriels, and take children up into the Forest to teach them about nature. This is in my back yard. The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument needs to be enlarged, not reduced.” – Sandra

“An attack on one national monument is an attack on all. Please maintain the status of ALL national monuments across the country, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Protected public lands are critical for the health and future of our country.” – Amy

“I live in Alhambra and these mountains are my backyard. Please do not destroy this monument because of partisanship or hate. There is no logical reason to abandon this monument, and doing so would not benefit the American people in any way.” – Christopher

“Every time we look up or drive by on the local freeway we are moved by this natural beauty. We can park below and hike up amongst beautiful trees, gorgeous vistas, and streams with occasional waterfalls. The wildlife up here also thrives in this expansive mountain range. Please protect this incredible area that surrounds so many communities and is available to anyone for access and a healthy climb.” – Gabriela

“It amazes me how nationally obscure the San Gabriel Mountains and the Angeles Crest Highway are nationally. They deserve far more publicity than they get. The first time I drove the length of the Highway I was completely, utterly blown away; it was some of the most visually striking landscape I’ve ever seen. And the road just goes on and on and on. It truly is an otherworldly, sacred tract, and every effort should be made to protect it.” – Jonathan

“This Monument enjoys wide support from people of all walks of life and most diverse ethnic background. They came to all public planning meetings and left many comments of their support. For many who will never get to the High Sierra, the Gabriel Mountains National Monument are the next best thing. The San Gabriel National Monument gets as many visitors as Yosemite and is a jewel to Angelenos. It it a great place to have a wilderness experience only one hour or less from LA. Keep your hands off the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. It took many years and a lot of hard work to make it happen.” – Rick

“I love the San Gabriels, the steepest mountains in southern California. They need all the protection and care that government can provide, as so many other people love them, too.” -Pat

“I hike in these mountains every week. I urge you to preserve these mountains for those of us who cherish this opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in such a developed region.” – Michelle

“The San Gabriel National Monument is a treasure, and treasures are rich, and this wealth of nature is not to be wasted and lost.” – Maria

“Our national monuments and public lands and waters help define who we are as a nation by telling the story of our historical, cultural and natural heritage. I am extremely disappointed that President Trump has signed an executive order that attempts to undermine our national monuments. Attempts to roll back protections for national monuments would be both illegal and terribly misguided. I strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to eliminate or shrink our national monuments. I am firmly opposed to any effort to revoke or diminish protections for National Monuments and I urge you to support our public lands and waters and recommend that our current national monuments remain protected. I urge you to stand up for our nation’s national monuments and to protect, preserve, and keep them as they are, for all Americans to enjoy.” – Chanda

“We need to protect what little natural environmental space we have, for future generations.” – Lisa

“In my 40 years of taking children into the mountains to teach them stewardship and environmental responsibility, it’s been the Mountains that changed their lives, not the books, people or buildings!” – Lark

“I’ve lived in the city all my life, but the San Gabriel Mountains showed me that Los Angeles was part of something much bigger. I know so many people in the Los Angeles area and beyond who love these mountains. We need the national monument designation to pass this national treasure on to the next generation.” – Kelly