On Friday morning, President Barack Obama designated a significant portion of Angeles National Forest (almost 350,000 acres) as San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Also, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) announced approval of a $3 million San Gabriel Mountains Monument Fund (currently $850,000 has been raised for this pledge). In addition, the NFF is working with other groups to establish a $500,000 San Gabriel Partnership Fund.
A key reason to establish this area as a National Monument is to provide the ability to gain access to grant funding and public-private partnerships. That the ability to raise money and direct it is already providing much needed economic resources to this underfunded and sadly neglected resource is encouraging for me. I am hopeful that much needed improvements are far more likely to appear with this change.
With most of the hikes on this blog no longer being in Angeles National Forest, I might need to rethink its name and edit a lot of information such as where a peak is located in my peak bagging resume etc. Worth the effort though for the difference I think this will make for the forest. As with any change, there are those who are against it. In this case, I chalk that up to a lot of misinformation floating around. Casey Schreiner has followed this more closely than I and has written a number of good posts on what this change means. If your are interested in more information, this post on his blog Modern Hiker is a good place to start as is the new San Gabriel Mountains National Monument page.