Protection for San Gabriel Mountains Takes a Turn
LOS ANGELES - Protecting the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California may be moving in a new direction. Some members of the California Congressional delegation are calling on President Obama to use his authority to protect the federal lands by designating the area a national monument. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) supports the move since her bill for a National Recreation Area has stalled in Congress. She says the forest has more than 3 million visitors each year, but services and resources have not kept up.
"We need better signage, safer trails, more trash collection, more staffing and visitor services, better preservation of historic and natural resources, and we need them right now," Chu says.
According to a recent poll, 80-percent of Los Angeles County voters support the proposed protection for the San Gabriel Mountains and rivers, especially to protect clean water, clean air and open space for families to enjoy. The U.S. Forest Service is holding a public discussion on the matter Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center of Baldwin Park.
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez, president of the Azusa Unified School District, says these days too many children are living in a virtual world and missing out on real-life experiences.
"To take them out there to not only see what's in our backyard, but also make it more tangible," Cruz-Gonzalez says. "For them to be able to see this water rushing down the river, this is the water we're going to be drinking."
The San Gabriel Mountains Forever poll conducted in May surveyed 500 registered voters throughout Los Angeles County. The poll found support for the San Gabriel Mountains was highest among Latinos, at 88 percent, and Asian-Americans at 82 percent.