On Friday, President Obama will be in town to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. The move will carve out nearly half of the Angeles National Forest to create the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. It’s something Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park) has been pushing for since she introduced a bill this past summer. Currently, the US Forest Service manages the mountains, but budgetary issues have lead to maintenance concerns like graffiti and litter.
Supporters say the designation could mean more funding for park maintenance and cleanup and more protection for wildlife. But opponents balk at the decision, saying the President’s executive order skirts the democratic process. They also question the motivation behind it -- with no apparent money currently attached to it, they wonder what the designation will actually do other than acknowledge the San Gabriels’ beauty.
Will the new monument status change the current use of the mountains for cyclists or drivers? Some of the shoreline areas of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River are heavily used during the summer, and it can get quite crowded and even unhygienic because the area doesn't have many restrooms. There also are not safe trails to get down to the river from many roadside parking areas. Would monument status do anything at all to improve parking or restrooms and access to these areas that are already heavily used?
Char Miller, Director of the Environmental Analysis Program at Pomona College; Author "Public Lands, Public Debates: A Century of Controversy"
Judy Nelson, Mayor of Glendora