Discussion on Proposed Opposition to National Monument Designation in San Gabriel Mountains Sept. 9

During the upcoming  September 9  San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meeting Chairman Janice Rutherford and first District Supervisor Robert Lovingood will ask the three other supervisors to join them in approving a  resolution concerning  the proposed designation of a national monument in the San Gabriel mountains for areas that lie within or are adjacent to the Angeles National Forest that is within San Bernardino County. The resolution would also ask for time for public dialogue regarding the potential impacts and benefits if the “designation” is approved.

According to the county, by adopting this resolution, the County  of San Bernardino states its support for a full Congressional and public process for any potential designation of a National Monument or National Recreation Area. They will also request the Obama Administration delay any action on designation a National Monument within San Bernardino County unless sufficient time is given for public dialogue regarding the potential impacts and benefits of the designation. San Bernardino County jurisdictions, agencies and stakeholders should be granted adequate representation on any advisory, management or policy council that may be formed, pursuant to any additional federal designation.

The background information for this board of supervisors action appeared on August 19 when a letter was sent by five California members of Congress to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, calling on the Obama Administration to establish a National Monument under the Antiquities Act on more than 615,000 acres (961 square miles) in the San Gabriel Mountains, including the Angeles National Forest.

This request came after Representative Judy Chu introduced H.R. 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act on June 12, 2014, which would create a National Recreation Area in the same area now proposed for National Monument designation. H.R. 4858 and the National Monument proposal included the Angeles National Forest within San Bernardino County and include the communities of Lytle Creek, Mt. Baldy and wrightwood.

Unlike a National Recreation Area, which requires Congressional approval,  a National Monument can be established by Presidential Executive Order. The idea for creating a special federal designation for the San Gabriel Mountains, the Angeles National Forest, adjacent urban areas and rivers fed by that watershed, goes back more than a decade.

On July 1, 2033, Congress approved Public Law 108-042, the “San Gabriel River Watershed Study Act,” which authorized the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource studies of “The San Gabriel River and its Tributaries.” It also included the San Gabriel Mountains within the territory of the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.

The final study, which looked at more than 1,000 square miles, largely in Los Angeles County, was transmitted to Congress in April 2013 and it included a recommendation by the National Park Service to create a 49,000-acre National Recreation area that would include areas of the San Gabriel Mountain foothills, portions of the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo River corridors and the western Puente Hills. Only a small portion would reach into San Bernardino County. But instead, Congressman Chu’s legislation and National Monument proposals took in most of the Angeles National Forest, which includes a large area in San Bernardino County.

The adopted County of San Bernardino 2014 Federal Legislative Platform includes a provision that the County will “oppose creation of National Monuments by Executive Order under the Antiquities Act, assuring establishment under a public process of Congressional and public consecration and creation.”  If the supervisors adopt this resolution it will support and advance their stated opposition.

The board of supervisors hearings are held at the County Government Center at 385 North Arrowhead Avenue in San Bernardino. The meetings begin at 10 a.m.

 

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