By: Martin Martinez
As a pastor and member of the Por la Creación Faith-based Alliance, it’s easy for me to understand the importance of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to Los Angeles. This is why I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Judy Chu and Sen. Kamala Harris and their efforts to expand the monument and ensure this precious natural resource is protected for generations to come.
Established after a years long, community-led effort, the monument makes up 70 percent of the open space Los Angeles’ 15 million people use for family picnics, birthday celebrations, hiking, skiing, riding horseback and fishing. Churches, like mine, even baptize members in its waters. With such diverse uses, visitors, resources, and recreational opportunities, there are significant ecological and human impacts to the monument.
Rep. Chu’s San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act and San Gabriel Mountains Forever Act of 2017, as well as Sen. Harris’ companion bill provide a myriad of benefits — improved physical and mental health, recreational economic activity, improved air and water quality, historical and cultural significance, and community gathering places.
We have a moral obligation to care for our natural resources and public lands. And this legislation will empower us to do so. We look forward to seeing this legislation reintroduced early in 2019 in the new session of Congress.