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: Dorothy Wong

sgmf dorothy Argyle DotDorothy Wong is a graduate of our Leadership Academy and was recently elected to the Altadena Town Council.

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

I found out about the Leadership Academy from BikeSGV and was eager to be a part of protecting our mountains while also having the opportunity to learn more about civic engagement and the opportunity to create projects for the betterment of the community.

What was your project?

To create an educational bike tour for young people to learn about the precious resource of water and the watershed, while also learning communication art skills to tell the story of their journey along the way and why protecting our lands and waters through the National Monument is vital. This creative content will be a tool shared broadly and especially to our civic leaders to support the need to protect open space. These young people will learn about the environment as well learn skills that may become their future life’s path.

What’s the best thing you learned?

The process in the classroom brought things together, so as a whole I would highly recommend the Leadership Academy to anyone who is looking for their next pathway.

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

It was great to see the coalition of organizations we were able to learn from, and to see how working together was bigger and better for the benefit of the movement. Supportive together, it’s strength.

Describe what being in the great outdoors means to you.

Being in nature is so calming, so fresh and is really bigger than me when I’m there. Its vastness can be an adventure. Getting away from the city noise. The great outdoors is beautiful and still so full of life. It works in harmony and balance when we let it be.

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

It’s hard to say. I love walking with my dogs in the Arroyo Seco or Eaton Canyon while I test my skills riding mountain bikes up and down the trails in my home of Altadena. Paved ways by bike with friends we love to push ourselves climbing up and over the mountain roads and river paths as far at Mt Baldy Ski Lifts and sometimes all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

What has post-academy life been like?

The timing was so right with our national political leadership challenging our national monuments it was time to stand up and protect them. I felt more confident and knowledgable and ready to make change. A big moment was attending the Transportation Equity Summit hosted by Transform and Cal Bike in Sacramento, advocating and lobbying for support Transportation Equity themed Assembly Bills and seeing how it all worked by using my advocacy skills learned though the Academy. I was so excited from the momentum to make a difference, I took the opportunity to do so in my community and ran for Altadena Town Council — and much on the grounds of protecting open space and the environment. People rallied in support and I got out there to meet and speak to my neighbors about their concerns. I worked all the way up to the last minutes of the election and as a result got the highest votes!

Working together is what it’s all about, so I’ve been taking on opportunities to outreach provided by and in support of the SGMF coalition. Driven by my love of competition, I entered the National Monument Public Comment “Postcard Challenge” and reached out at events and in my community, as well as working alongside SGMF Leadership Academy alumni at events such as the REI Garage Sale to ask the public to be a voice and sign the postcards asking our Federal leaders to protect our lands and waters via National Monument designation. We help people understand why we need to protect more of it. I also recently attended Climate Day LA leadership conference. It was amazing to be a part of the enthusiasm to work on climate change issues and become leaders in reducing our impact on the planet. It all works together and what we do affects all on our planet… the great outdoors!

MORE: Feature in the Altadena Library newsletter

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.)

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“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

What’s Up with the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument?

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The Origin

President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to sign an executive order on October 10, 2014 that designated the San Gabriel Mountains national monument . San Gabriel Mountains Forever was proud to be there the day Obama signed the order. The celebration came after working for more than 10 years on collaborating with a diverse network of organizations, agencies, businesses, elected officials, and residents to secure protections and improvements to the region. (More the Antiquities Act: The Wilderness SocietyModern Hiker)

The Threat

President Trump signed an executive order on April 26, 2017 to review the national monument designations made since 1996.  (More on the news: San Gabriel Valley Tribune). The Department of Interior announced they would open up a public comment period to review the status of those monuments designated under the Antiquities Act. SGMF and its member organizations collected thousands of signatures to our letter and addition comments of support for the national monument.

The Moves to Protect It

We are defending it. LA County Supervisors approved a motion, introduced by Supervisor Hilda Solis, on May 2, 2017, requesting support and legislation from the Los Angeles County’s congressional delegation to protect the monument status.

“Many community organizations and advocates were instrumental to the appointment of the Mountains as a National Monument. We cannot have decades of hard work signed away with a stroke of a pen.” — Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis

California Attorney General wrote a letter to the Interior Department in which he vowed “to take any and all legal action necessary” to preserve six California monuments,” including our San Gabriel Mountains.

On the anniversary of the Antiquities Act on June 8, 2017, the California State Assembly passed a joint resolution urging the President, the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior, and the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture to protect our federal public lands.

The Move to Expand It

We are also working to expand the monument area and provide Angelenos with a National Recreation Area (NRA). On May 4, 2017, Congresswoman Judy Chu re-introduced the San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act; cosponsors of the bill: Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congresswoman Linda Sanchez, and Congressman Tony Cardenas.

“The designation of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument has already brought incredible dividends to our area, increasing access, safety, and trash clean up and creating more trails and services. By expanding the National Monument to include the western portions of the Angeles National Forest and establishing a National Recreation Area (NRA) along the foothills and San Gabriel River corridor, we can take this progress further by completing the vision of a city seamlessly and sustainably connected to its mountains, and mountains that are accessible for all.” – Congresswoman Judy Chu

The Next Steps

You can help us fighting for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument!

In the News: Monuments Under Attack

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“National monument designation has meant more community input in the future of the San Gabriel Mountains than ever before. If Trump wants to remove these protections and hand public land over to corporations, he will have to go through Congress where I will fight to protect our environment. I’m going even further and soon reintroducing my legislation to establish the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Recreation Area and expand the existing monument boundaries, increasing the amount of land protected.” – Congresswoman Judy Chu

“An attack on any national monument is an attack on all of them.” –
SGMF member Daniel Rossman in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

“President Obama recognized there are not enough parks and monuments for all people, be they young, old, rich, poor, black, white, Latino, Asian-American and Native American. It is those values this administration is attacking.” – SGMF member Robert Garcia in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The executive order is an attack on America’s parks, public lands, and natural spaces. Public lands protect our health, support our economy and serve our communities.

Our coalition has worked for more than 10 years, collaborating with a diverse network of organizations, agencies, businesses, elected officials, and residents, to secure protections and improvements to the region — for the benefit of all Angelenos. Our work will continue.

East Fork Project: Public Meetings

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Public meetings are being held this this week in Baldwin Park and Arcadia to discuss the East Fork Project. You can help us by providing public input!

We’re working with the US Forest Service (USFS) and The Watershed Conservation Authority (WCA) to make sure that improvements to the East Fork serve our communities and protect our precious public lands.

We want to improve the area for recreation and also protect water and wildlife. Currently there is a shortage of trails and safe access points, and water quality and aquatic life are threatened by illegal dams, mechanical mineral dredging, and disease.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 16, 6-8:30 pm
WHERE: Julia McNeill Senior Center, Celebration Hall, 4100 Baldwin Park Blvd, Baldwin Park, CA

WHEN: Saturday, November 19, 11 am-1:30 pm
WHERE: Angeles National Forest HQ, 701 North Saint Anita Ave, Arcadia

They are seeking comments from the public on the following matters:

What environmental issues should be analyzed?

Are there alternatives that should be evaluated that will meet the purpose and need for the project?

What mitigation measures would help avoid or minimize any negative impacts?

Written comments will also be accepted via email at commentspacificsouthwest-angeles@fs.fed.us. Comments must be received no later than November 30, 2016.

Good for Heart & Mind: The Mental Health Hike

We all know that recreation in the great outdoors is good for your health — and that includes your mental health. We hosted a Mental Health Hike this weekend with the Wilderness Society for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychology professors, psychology students, social workers, counselors, and others to walk and talk about the connection between nature and mental health. Special thanks to Rep. Judy Chu for joining us, and for the leadership of our speaker, Emily Wu Truong.