As a child, I spent a lot of time traveling with my family to different national parks, national monuments and other beautiful areas. It was something we enjoyed doing together and something that brought us closer together. Although we loved to get outdoors and explore new places, visiting the San Gabriel Mountains was one thing we never did. We would always travel to other parts of California or to other states to experience nature. It wasn't until I started college that I visited the San Gabriel Mountains for the first time. It took me that long to visit the mountains I grew up so close to. It turned out that the San Gabriel's are absolutely amazing and beautiful.
My personal experience is one of the reasons I became so passionate about the San Gabriel Mountains Forever campaign. I want there to be increased awareness among the Los Angeles basin of this precious resource we all have available to us. I want children to grow up thinking about the San Gabriel Mountains in the same way they think about popular places such as Yosemite. These mountains are so close to such a large, diverse population and I believe they deserve to be taken as seriously as other natural areas throughout the United States. They provide such an overcrowded area with much needed open space. They have the ability to provide a place for healthy recreation and to connect youth with nature, despite the fact that we live in one of the largest cities in the country.
The San Gabriel Mountains Forever's vision of establishing the mountains as a national monument will provide long term recognition and protection. It will give the mountains the world class designation it deserves. After attending the most recent public meeting regarding this issue, it was very satisfying to see the amount of support present. It brought a strong sense of community to the campaign which is the backbone as to why this campaign was created in the first place. I am excited for what is to come regarding the San Gabriel Mountains. I hope that with the hard work coming from the people involved with the campaign, Washington can realize the beauty and importance these mountains have for the community.
-- By Laurie Aguilar, San Gabriel Mountains Forever volunteer and Leadership Academy graduate