From 2015 onward, new posts will appear only here: http://www.sierraclub.org/michael-brune

 

« Why Lisa Cried When Eric Dumped ALEC | Main | Exxon's First Prick of Conscience? »

October 13, 2014

The San Gabriels: Obama's Lucky Thirteenth

California may be famous for its beaches, but what really defines the state's geography are its many mountain ranges (and I'm not just saying that because the Sierra Club took its name from one of them). Last Friday, President Obama permanently protected one of those mountain ranges -- the San Gabriels that bound Los Angeles to the north and east -- by designating almost 350,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest as our newest national monument.

At a time when the U.S. Congress has all but abdicated responsibility for protecting public lands, designations like this one are crucial to protecting treasured landscapes before it's too late. Although it's his thirteenth monument designation, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is only President Obama's third designation of an extensive natural landscape. The previous two were Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monuments, both in New Mexico. (At 490,000 square miles, last week's much-needed expansion of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument is by far Obama's biggest designation, but you can't really call it a landscape.)

But the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument stands out for another reason: These magnificent mountains rise above one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States (and the second most populous). That means they can provide much-needed natural open space and outdoor recreation opportunities for Angelenos and other Southern Californians. The Sierra Club was founded on the principle that people can benefit from getting closer to nature. Sometimes, that means bringing nature closer to the people -- in this case, at least 15 million people, who live less than 90 minutes away.

Although the Antiquities Act has given presidents the authority to make national monument declarations since 1906, the real power to save landscapes like the San Gabriels comes not from the White House but from locally based grassroots campaigns. In this case, San Gabriel Mountains Forever (a coalition that includes the Sierra Club) devoted years to building community support, including public meetings, thousands of public comments, letters, and postcards. Last week, all that work paid off.

But our work isn't finished yet. We still have important, critically endangered public lands, such as the Grand Canyon Watershed and Greater Canyonlands that deserve permanent protection, and those of us who love wild places won't rest until that happens. Today, though, let's take a moment to congratulate the people of Los Angeles on their brand new national monument and thank President Obama for making it official.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b96069e201b8d07ca775970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference The San Gabriels: Obama's Lucky Thirteenth:


User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Michael Brune

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Rss Feed



Sierra Club Main | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Website Help

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2013 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.