LOS ANGELES – Conservation of critical fish and wildlife habitat in southern California could advance through President Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by 109,000 acres, achieving what Congress has not yet been able to do.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and its California chapter are part of a diverse coalition of sportsmen and women, outdoor recreationists, community members and Tribes that support the San Gabriel Mountains Protection Act (H.R. 3681) led by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), and the Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act (S. 1776) that contains the same language, led by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA). These bills would expand conservation measures for the San Gabriel Mountains, enlarging the existing monument, adding more than 31,000 acres of wilderness and designating 45-plus miles of river as Wild and Scenic. Traditional hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational access would be maintained.
After passing the House multiple times in the 117th Congress and being considered in Senate committee, this legislation seems fated to languish in a divided Congress. Hunters and anglers and local leaders have been working for years to achieve this conservation vision for the San Gabriel Mountains region, and BHA supports the use of the Antiquities Act to heed the calls of community stakeholders to expand the monument.
Eric Hanson, co-chair of the California chapter of BHA, shared his support for conserving this treasured landscape.
“We are asking President Biden to use his authority through the Antiquities Act to safeguard critical natural and recreational resources in Southern California, and we are grateful to Representative Chu and Senator Padilla for their leadership,” Hanson said. “The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is an outdoor sanctuary for residents of the Los Angeles area and provides urban residents local opportunity to recreate in its wild and scenic landscapes, including hunting and fishing. By expanding the monument, we are ensuring that this legacy is preserved for generations to come.”
The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is home to a range of game species, including mule deer and black bears, and supports a healthy population of bighorn sheep. The area offers opportunities for hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation for millions of Californians, including the urban residents in and around Los Angeles who rely on the mountains for access to clean air, water and recreation. Expansion of the national monument would bolster intact habitat and promote public access for all Americans, including hunters and anglers whose license fees and excise taxes contribute significantly to the conservation of wildlife and habitat.
BHA has consistently advocated for America’s national monuments system and the judicious use of the Antiquities Act as a way to permanently conserve important large landscapes. Key to achieving this outcome is a process that adheres to specific tenets and is locally driven, transparent, incorporates the science-based management of habitat, and upholds existing hunting and fishing opportunities.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.