The Arroyo Seco Is Now in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument!

Biden Backs Sustained Campaign to Expand the Monument by 109,00 acres

May 2, 2024 - Thank you, President Biden, for advancing a decades-long vision to protect the San Gabriel Mountains by using the Antiquities Act to add 109,000 acres to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. These lands are the gateway to the Angeles National Forest and welcome millions of visitors each year.

In 2014, President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate 346,177 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. This was a critical step towards permanently protecting the mountains, but many local residents were disappointed that the spectacular Arroyo Seco canyon, a major tributary of the Los Angeles River, was not included, along with many of the best treasures of the Angeles National Forest. Sites like Millard Canyon, Chantry Flats, Tujunga Canyon and others were neglected. Since then, community support has continued to grow for safeguarding the public lands in the western Angeles National Forest that were not included in the original monument designation, including our beloved Arroyo Seco.

The San Gabriel Mountains are the backyard for many urban and culturally diverse communities in and around Los Angeles. Over 18 million people live within a 90-mile radius of the national monument expansion. Protecting these public lands will help increase equitable access to nature, improve public health, conserve a critical drinking water source for local residents, and address the climate and biodiversity crisis.

As a member of the Community Collaborative that was founded ten years ago to support the National Monument, I have watched the benefits that have come from the designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. It has been a difficult period characterized by a long drought and fires as well as a horde of enthusiastic new users of the forest who often were not trained in the qualities of care and stewardship that nature deserves from those who use it. The US Forest Service has focused on recovery from the devastating Station Fire, the Bobcat Fire, and other calamities. We are glad that the forgotten territory of the Angeles National Forest will now benefit from being added to the Monument and know that the expansion will greatly enhance the current Monument's value as well.

Along with many local communities and organizations, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Alex Padilla and Representative Judy Chu have championed this campaign and urged President Biden to expand the existing San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. We, the Stewards of the Arroyo Seco, have been pleased to add our voice to theirs urging the President to build on his conservation legacy and permanently protect these important public lands.

President Biden’s declaration honors our treasured mountains, but we can’t expect the federal government to solve all our problems. This is a call for action. Southern California needs a renewed focus on restoring and enhancing the health of the forest and the natural resources it protects. That will take more than just a declaration. That will take new leadership and partnerships from local communities and organizations commited to stewardship of the precious natural treasures that we have been blessed with.


Tim Brick is the Executive Director of Stewards of the Arroyo Seco. He has served on the Community Collaborative of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument since its inception

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