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What the new San Gabriel mountains national monument means for Southern California




As part of President Obama's visit to Los Angeles he designated a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest a national monument.
As part of President Obama's visit to Los Angeles he designated a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest a national monument.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC
As part of President Obama's visit to Los Angeles he designated a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest a national monument.
A map shows the new San Gabriel mountains national monument.
White House


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The San Gabriel mountains provide an impressive backdrop to parts of L.A.'s skyline. And as of Friday, the range is now a national monument.

More than half of the San Gabriel acreage will be protected, thanks to an order directly from President Obama.

The move is not without controversy, though. Some local residents and officials have raised concern about private property rights and fire safety protocol.

But the designation will help with much needed conservation efforts, said Bill Possiel, president of the National Forest Foundation. His organization has set aside some $3 million to focus on youth involvement in the new monument and to help the area recover from past wildfires, among other things.

"With the designation, we hope that people will begin to understand and appreciate the importance of this place," said Possiel.

In a statement on the new designation, the White House called L.A. "one of the most disadvantaged counties in the country when it comes to access to parks and open space for minorities and children." From the statement:

More than 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains, which provides 70 percent of the open space for Angeleños and 30 percent of their drinking water.  The 346,177 acre site contains high-quality wilderness areas, habitat for rare and endangered animals like the California condor, and a rich array of cultural and historical features.