San Gabriels could become part of National Park System

The San Gabriel mountains
The San Gabriel mountains Brittany Knotts/KPCC

How does “San Gabriel National Recreation Area” sound? The mountains and foothills above Los Angeles are one step closer to becoming part of the National Park System.

Congress asked the Department of the Interior to look at 700,000 acres around Los Angeles, to determine whether portions of it are appropriate for national park service protection. The department’s draft report says both the San Gabriel Mountains and Puente Hills are “nationally significant” and “represent natural and cultural” resources that are unprotected.

The draft stops short of recommending a traditional national park. Instead, it offers four strategies: do nothing, merge the San Gabriels into the Angeles National Forest, turn the San Gabriel River watershed into a National Recreation Area, or create a partnership for the region with several agencies.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer says she's “pleased the National Park Service is taking the next step toward preserving the unique natural resources of the San Gabriel Mountains and Puente Hills.”

Democratic Rep. Judy Chu says she's, “glad to see that the study has incorporated many of the comments voiced by the public, local stakeholders, and members of Congress.”

The park service has scheduled public meetings to gather more comments about its plan. The first one is Saturday Oct. 29 at the El Monte Senior Center.

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