Get out your headlamp and compass (Who are we kidding? Whip out the GPS) because tomorrow approximately half of the Angeles National Forest will become a national monument.
On Friday, President Obama is expected to use his executive powers to establish the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The precise boundaries have yet to be revealed, but sources say the space will span 350,000 acres and probably won’t include the communities of Mt. Baldy and Wrightwood.
The San Gabriel Mountains, with their “jagged, vertical profile brooding over the flat, bleached grid of the L.A. Basin,” draw approximately 3 million visitors what with the hiking, the skiing, the swimming, and the views, (not to mention the Joshua Trees and the pines or the Bighorn sheep and cottontail rabbits.) It has been increasingly difficult to control trash, vandalism, and wildfires in the area.
Proponents of the national monument believe it will help the U.S. Forest Service manage and enhance the mountains by cleaning them up, adding new trails, and hiring more rangers. But the change hasn’t been met with universal approval. Many residents see it as a land grab on the part of the federal government and are concerned about property rights, flood control, and other issues, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Why not lace up your hiking boots and get out there so you can decide for yourself? (And since we’re on the subject, our guide to hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains is a great place to start.)