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President Biden Expands San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

On May 2, 2024 President Biden announced the expansion of national monuments in California including San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, adding 190,000 acres of public lands to this ecological jewel. 

Towering above the Los Angeles basin are the San Gabriel Mountains. Their highest points stand upwards of 10,000 feet and are capped with snow during most winters, providing a unique juxtaposition to downtown LA’s skyline and its western sandy beaches. The San Gabriels teem with wildlife including mountain lions, coyote, Golden and Bald Eagles, California Black Bear, and endemic Leather Oak. They provide an abundance of recreation opportunities for Southern Californians including camping, hiking, canyoning, and snow sports. The area is within 90 minutes of more than 18 million people. 

The coast and ocean of Southern California are uniquely connected to the San Gabriels. These mountains are home to the headwaters of the San Gabriel River, as well as other creeks and streams that wind their way through the LA basin and eventually into the Pacific. Downstream flows carry cobble and sediment that help create our beaches and provide critical ecological linkages between land and sea. The conservation of these headwaters are important to the health of our Southern California coastline as well as for Southern Californians. 

In 2014, President Barack Obama designated 346,177 acres of federal lands in the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Monument. President Biden added 109,000 acres of public lands to the protected area. 

A national monument is a land or historic area that has been given permanent protection by Congress or by the president through the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act, established in 1906, provides the foundation for preserving and protecting archeological sites, historic landmarks, prehistoric structures, and other objects of interest on Federal lands.

The expansion enhances equitable access to nature, protects the upper Los Angeles River watershed, and safeguards a refuge for wildlife. The expansion was a major step in the 20-year, locally-driven effort to protect the San Gabriel Mountains. 

To advocate for the expansion of national monuments in California, Surfrider called on the Biden Administration for the creation of new protections for the state's awe-inspiring landscapes through this video and collected thousands of signatures from community members in support.