San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Monument Plan

Cloudy mountain landscape view

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan, Environmental Assessment (EA), and Decision Notice for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument are complete.

"We are excited to have this plan to the finish line," Jerome Perez, Angeles National Forest Supervisor, stated. "The collaborative effort with our many partners has been outstanding, and we look forward to continued cooperation as we implement this plan." The Monument Plan provides guidance for the Angeles National Forest to manage the area’s unique ecological, social, and cultural resources for years to come. The Angeles National Forest will now begin carrying out the Monument Plan. Specific projects across the monument will progress through planning and implementation, and the Monument Plan will help guide those efforts. Any project initiated on the Monument will need to be in alignment with this Plan.

The final EA analyzed the environmental consequences of three plan alternatives. Alternative 1 was a No Action alternative. Alternative 2 was originally the proposed alternative draft of the Monument Plan with minor additional protections. Alternative 3 was a modification of Alternative 2, developed as a result of the feedback received through the planning process. Perez selected Alternative 3. Key differences between Alternatives 2 and 3 are the need for a clear vision; greater coordination in transportation planning; providing quality recreation opportunities; more focus on visitor services and education for culturally diverse groups; and clarification on the protection of unique resources.

Learn more about the Forest's Land Management plan, forest planning, and management direction on San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan.


Highlights of the Monument Plan

Transportation – Emphasis on alternative transportation and coordination with state and local governments and organizations to increase public use and enjoyment. Alignment of forest road management with federal funding programs.person looking at the trees

Socio-Environmental Justice – Integration with the needs and expectations of the diverse population in the surrounding area. Interpretive information captures a rich cultural history is available in multiple languages and uses modern and contemporary tools.

Sustainable Recreation – An Increased commitment to conservation education and interpretation, use of best practices to manage high visitor use, and emphasis on youth.

Sensitive Species and Habitats – New Critical Biological Land Use Zones for protection of species and emphasis on species and habitat monitoring.

Protection of Objects of Interest – Increased awareness and protection of Heritage Resources, changes to zoning for consistency with designated Wilderness Areas, increased protection of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, and hiker experience.

Management Plan Milestones

  • October 2014: President Obama designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument (the Monument) and Forest Service began formulating a strategy for developing a Monument Management Plan, associated staffing and budgets, and public engagement.
  • November-December 2014: National Forest Foundation formed a small working group to identify potential members of the public interested in the Monument and willing to participate as part of a collaborative group (referred to as “the Collaborative”).
  • January-February 2015: Forest Service developed the first draft Public Involvement Plan to guide the development of the Monument Management Plan, via an environmental assessment and an Angeles National Forest Plan amendment
  • April-May 2015: Public outreach materials developed initial public scoping meeting preparation began.
  • June 2015: Forest Service initiates a 45-day public scoping period to gather input on the strategy for developing the Monument Management Plan and the draft "Need to Change" analysis. Angeles National Forest hosts five public meetings in late June to share information and gather input.
  • Winter 2015: Forest Service synthesizes and reviews public scoping comments to identify key issues in a Scoping Outcome summary. Four key issues are identified.
  • Spring 2016: Forest Service releases Chapter 1 and 2 of the Draft Environmental Assessment for public review. The intent is to allow a preview of the information to prepare their comments for the official comment period later.
  • Summer 2016: Forest Service initiates a 60-day public comment period on draft Monument Management Plan and associated environmental assessment, and hosts a series of public meetings to share information and gather input.
  • Fall/Winter 2016: Forest Service reviews and respond to public comments on draft documents to prepare final Monument Management Plan, final environmental assessment, and draft Decision Notice.
  • Winter 2016-17: Forest Service initiates a 45-day objection period on the draft Decision Notice and associated final Monument Management Plan and final environmental assessment.
  • Summer 2018: Forest Service considers objections received and hosts objection resolution meetings. Forest Service revises documents as needed based on objection resolution.
  • May 2019: Forest Service signs the final San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan as the Land Management Plan Amendment

Establishing the Monument

President Barack Obama designates the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument on October 10, 2014, at Bonelli Park in San Dimas, CA.

The Angeles National Forest began public engagement efforts in 2015, including meeting with various stakeholder groups, public agencies, and individual members of the public. Outreach included a number of organizations representing underserved communities, as well as the San Gabriel Mountains Community Collaborative. Formed in 2015, this group includes 46 community representatives from the public, elected officials, and non-profit and private organizations who advocate for investment in and sustainable management of recreation infrastructure and natural resources to benefit all communities in the area.

Throughout the Plan’s development, the Forest worked with congressional staff, local government officials, and Tribes to gather their concerns and offer a review of documents. Tribal consultation associated with the Monument Plan was initiated with federally recognized Tribes following the official designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The Forest Service provided an update on the Monument Plan during Tribal forums and follow-up meetings to receive input on the Monument Plan with individual Tribes. After the final public comment period, participating federally recognized and non-federally recognized tribes were consulted on the revised Monument Plan before it was released to the public.

The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is within the Angeles National Forest in southern California. The Final Monument plan will amend the Forest’s existing Land Management Plan (Angeles National Forest Land Management Plan, USDA Forest Service 2005a). In 2014, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument was established by Presidential proclamation, which:

  • Designated 346,177 acres of existing Federal land.
  • Described the historical, natural, and cultural significance of the features within the area that warranted the special designation.
  • Directed that certain uses continue, including Tribal rights to use the lands according to their cultural traditions.
  • Acknowledged the continuation of valid existing rights and uses, such as utility rights-of-way and water infrastructure.
  • Directed that the administration of these activities continue, but in a manner consistent with the intent of the designation.

This Monument presents an exceptional opportunity for the Forest Service to:

  • Promote shared stewardship and cultivate connections between a diverse urban population and the outdoors.
  • Provide excellent customer service through collaboration, partnerships, and volunteerism to improve access, recreation opportunities, conservation education, and visitor services.
  • Demonstrate that conservation of public lands is a great investment and economic benefit for the people and communities of Southern California.
  • Demonstrate how resilient forest landscapes can co-exist side-by-side with major infrastructure.
image of prehistoric rock art

Prehistoric Rock art has been discovered in the San Gabriel Mountains. One of many historical artifacts that led to the monument's designation.

Designation as a national monument recognizes the area’s important geological, ecological, historic, scientific and recreational resources. There are more than 600 archaeological sites within the monument, including several rock-art and cupules features, the concentration of which is unique to southern California. Notably, two Native American rock art sites are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, a number of tribes still use many of these sites to maintain their cultural and spiritual traditions.

The monument area also has a strong scientific history. Mount Wilson Observatory an internationally renowned astronomical research facility, used by notable scientists such as Edwin Hubble and Albert Einstein. Additionally, the San Dimas Experimental Forest, which was established in 1933 to study forest hydrology and ecology, is the only experimental forest in southern California. 

painted image of mt. wilson

Mt. Wilson, located above Sierra Madre, CA is of historical and scientific significance. The observatory contains two historically important telescopes: the 100-inch (2.5 m) Hooker telescope, which was the largest aperture telescope in the world from its completion in 1917 to 1949, and the 60-inch telescope which was the largest operational telescope in the world when it was completed in 1908 (Mt. Wilson Observatory).

Public participation in developing the monument plan began in 2015. The Forest received more than 1,000 unique comments on the draft plan (released in 2016), and 11 objections on the monument plan (released in April 2018). Only 8 objections had standing. An objections resolution meeting was held with objectors and interested persons, resulting in modifications to the monument plan. These changes included clarifying the categories of “objects of interest,” how the existing land management plan and monument plan together provide direction for their protection and revising the transportation plan. The forest also clarified baseline data and monitoring procedures associated with biological resources and desired conditions.

Monument Maps

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Protected Areas

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Protected Areas (Click for larger image)

Map of SGMNM Land Use Zones

SGMNM Land Use Zones Map (offsite link)

Motor Vehicle Use Map

Motor Vehicle Use Map (Opens in new tab)

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Map

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Map (Click for larger image)