Biden OKs Expansion of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Biden OKs Expansion of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Clouds hover around the lightly snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles on Feb. 7, 2024. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin


Updated: 5/6/2024


President Joe Biden signed a proclamation May 2 approving the expansion of two national monuments in California—the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.
Using the Antiquities Act of 1906, Mr. Biden created new boundaries for the monuments and added land to preserve wildlife, biodiversity, and sites significant to Native American culture.
“These expansions honor tribal, national, and indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting scientific features, including critical wildlife habitat and migration corridors, safeguarding clean water, and supporting local economies,” the White House said in a fact sheet announcing the proclamation.
Former President Barack Obama designated the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument near Los Angeles in 2014 and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, about 85 miles northwest of Sacramento, in 2015.
The proclamation adds nearly 106,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land to the south and west of the current San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which is currently about 346,200 acres.
The land will protect additional cultural, scientific, and historic objects, and expand outdoor recreation.
The land historically has sustained Native American people, including the Gabrielino, Kizh—or Tongva—and the Chumash, Kitanemuk, Serrano, and Tatviam people.
The tribes in the region continue to use the areas for ceremonial purposes, as well as for collecting traditional plants for basketry, food, and medicine, according to the White House.
The Southern California monument also contains cultural, geological, and ecological resources, including a diversity of animals, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife. The land is also home to canyons, chaparral, coastal sage scrub lands, riparian woodlands, and conifer forests.
And it provides a home for the endangered California condor.
Mr. Biden expanded the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to honor tribal nations and Native Americans through the protection of its landscape and biologically important features, according to the proclamation.
The expansion will add 13,700 acres of public lands, managed by the Department of the Interior, to the monument’s original 330,000 acres, which are jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.
The new boundaries will include a portion of Molok Luyuk , an 11-mile north-to-south ridgeline sacred to the Patwin people. It is dotted with geologic and hydrologic features, the White House said. The ridge is also flanked by California chaparal-covered canyons, oak, and cypress woodlands, and spring-fed meadows.
Nearly 500 native California plant species have been found within the expansion area, including at least 38 special-status plants.
The Lolok Luyuk is also a corridor for the tule elk, mountain lions, and bears, and is home to bald and golden eagles.
This expansion honors the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, and other tribal nations and leaders who “worked tirelessly to ensure protection of these sacred lands for generations to come,” the White House said.

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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