San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Expands into Santa Clarita Valley

Senator Alex Padilla and SCV Water Board Member Kathye Armitage praised President Biden's decision


President Obama's creation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in 2014 was a landmark decision, safeguarding the region's cultural tapestry, ecological wonders, and geological marvels. President Biden has now taken a monumental step, expanding the monument's reach into the Santa Clarita Valley.


A Rich Tapestry of History Revealed

This expansion unlocks a treasure trove of history. It encompasses remnants of settlements dating back millennia, including those of the Tongva and Chumash peoples. Grand resorts from the Great Hiking Era stand as silent sentinels, while remnants of mining and ranching activities whisper tales of the past. The area was once a vibrant crossroads, where Indigenous trade routes facilitated the exchange of goods and ideas across vast distances.


A Living Landscape for All

The expanded monument is a testament to the diverse cultures that have shaped this land. Descendants of the Tongva, Chumash, Spanish missionaries, and Euro-American settlers continue to hold these lands dear, using them for ceremonies and traditional practices.


Nature's Classroom and Sanctuary

The landscape itself is a living museum. Towering peaks tell the story of ancient geological forces, while intricate rock formations reveal the Earth's history. Fossil-rich sites offer glimpses into prehistoric life. Diverse habitats provide a haven for a wealth of flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species like the California condor and the Santa Ana sucker. Perennial streams and riparian zones sustain aquatic life, while corridors like Bear Divide allow for vital wildlife migration.


A Place for Recreation and Connection

Beyond its historical and ecological significance, the expanded monument offers abundant recreation opportunities. Hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and scenic drives allow visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains.


A Legacy of Stewardship

President Biden's administration believes that the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is a powerful commitment to preserving America's natural and cultural heritage. Kathye Armitage, member of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Board of Directors, agrees.


“The expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument helps to protect critical wildlife habitat and passages, an important watershed that provides drinking water, and natural spaces where people can go connect with nature,” Kathye Armitage told the Santa Clarita Star.


Senator Alex Padilla also praised President Biden’s declaration. On June 26, 2023, Senator Padilla joined Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28) to urge the Biden administration to expand the boundary of California’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.


“From the majestic peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains to the sacred woodlands of Berryessa Snow Mountain, our national monuments hold some of our greatest natural marvels,” Senator Alex Padilla said in a press release. “Protecting our public lands as National Monuments is essential to combating the climate crisis, preserving cultural and sacred history, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring access to green space for millions of low-income Americans.”


The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters) praised President Biden’s decision.  


“The Biden-Harris administration has done more for conservation than any other first-term president in history. They have protected a historic 41 million acres and counting, and are continuing to deliver on community-led conservation with this latest expansion of San Gabriel Mountains and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monuments,” Gene Karpinski, President of LCV, said in a statement. “With these expansions, the administration is increasing equitable access to the outdoors in one of the country’s most populated areas while protecting clean water sources, healthy ecosystems, and vital cultural resources in Southern California. Expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include Molok Luyuk also honors its cultural importance to the Yocha Dehe Wintun peoples, as well as other California Tribes, and conserves the region’s incredible biodiversity.”


“The expansion of our national monuments and protection of our public lands are key nature-based solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises,” Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer of the California Environmental Voters, said in a press release. “These additions to the San Gabriel Mountains and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monuments include must-protect areas that provide communities with critical drinking water, create access to greenspaces for underserved communities, hold historical and cultural significance to California Tribes and Indigenous community leaders, and serve as wildlife corridors and habitats for imperiled animals and native plants.”


Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA30), who is running for U.S. Senate in California, pushed for the passage of the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act by Congress in 2008, directing the National Park Service to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Rim of the Valley Corridor. This study aimed to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of designating parts or all of the corridor as a unit of an existing area and to propose enhanced management and preservation strategies. Schiff, alongside the late California Senator Dianne Feinstein and then-Senator Kamala Harris, introduced the Rim of the Valley Corridor Preservation Act in 2017. This legislation sought to expand the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area by over 191,000 acres to incorporate the Rim of the Valley Corridor. Rep. Schiff issued the following statement on the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument:


“California is home to the most unique public lands in the world. President Biden’s bold action will not only preserve the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument for generations to come but also underscore our collective commitment to the protection of our public heritage and public lands.”


By recognizing the area's historical, scientific, and recreational value, the monument ensures that these invaluable resources are protected and accessible for future generations. Visitors who explore this captivating landscape will be able to see the enduring legacy of stewardship and conservation in the heart of Southern California.

Santa Clarita Weekly

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