Purple Mountains Majesty

President Obama's latest national monument makes one heck of a playground for L.A.

October 09, 2014

Hey Los Angeles, President Obama wants you to go play outside. And he's even creating the 550-square-mile San Gabriel National Monument today to help you do it—all while conserving habitat for endangered animals such as Nelson's bighorn sheep, California condors, mountain lions, spotted owls, and mountain yellow-legged frogs. Located in the Angeles National Forest, the new monument is just a 90-minute drive for about 15 million Californians, many of whom have little access to open space.

The area was already a national forest, but its new designation affords better protections (for instance, energy companies can’t mine or drill there once Obama signs the documents). The San Gabriels are also suffering from graffiti and vandalism problems, which make some locals not very happy about an increased influx of tourists. But many conservationists believe monument status is an important step to bringing more funds and manpower to care for the area's canyons, picnic grounds, and hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and horse-riding trails.

Today's move represents the 13th time Obama has used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a national monument, and he has protected more land and water than any other president in the last 50 years. So, Angelenos … ready, set, recreate!

Photo: Alissa Walker

Photo: Kmilo

Photo: Scrubhiker (USCdyer)

Photo: Steve Berardi

Photo: Daniel Orth

onEarth provides reporting and analysis about environmental science, policy, and culture. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of NRDC. Learn more or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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