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UPDATE: SAND TO SNOW NATIONAL MONUMENT STILL PROTECTED!
California is home to several national monuments that are within driving distance of Los Angeles. The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, Carrizo Plain National Monument, and the Sands to Snow National Monument are beautiful places that allow Californians to get outside.
Unfortunately, these beautiful and wild places are under attack. The Trump Administration is currently issuing a review of our national monuments that could limit protections for these areas or eliminate them altogether. Our partners in California are leading the resistance and fighting back against this misguided review.
The Carrizo Plain National Monument, located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley in San Luis Obispo County, is home to countless natural and cultural treasures. The Soda Lake, which is actually dried up for most of the year, lake leaves rich minerals where rare plants and wildlife, like the kit fox and burrowing owl, live.
Carrizo is much more than an ecosystem for endangered species— it helps to tell the stories of the indigenous people who lived in California centuries ago. Painted Rock, a massive sandstone formation, is held sacred by Chumash people and features 4,000-year-old pictographs.
Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) is fighting to bring more attention to efforts to protect Carrizo from the harmful review of national monuments. He spoke out in Congress, in an editorial and in a letter urging the Department of the Interior to preserve Carrizo.
The San Gabriel National Monument is a group of mountains overlooking Los Angeles that is one of the few ranges that stretches from east to west. This monument provides the 9.8 million residents of LA county access to the great outdoors.
The monument is critical to empowering communities of color and low-income communities to enjoy nature. Janet Valenzuela, an environmental justice activist, works with local groups like San Gabriel Mountains Forever, to ensure that communities of color feel comfortable with their knowledge of the outdoors and welcome in the area.
SANDS TO SNOW
One of California’s newest monuments is the Sands to Snow National Monument, which was designated by President Obama in February 2016. This area has rich biological diversity, with a desert ecosystem towards the bottom of the monument, and a snowy wooded area near the top that connects to the San Gorgino Wilderness.
Sadly, this relatively new monument is already under attack. Despite the extensive process that led to the designation of this monument, the Trump administration hopes to undo years of public collaboration in one fell swoop. Jack Thompson, the Regional Director of Wildlands Conservancy, a preserve that is surrounded by Sands to Snow, highlighted the importance of protecting this iconic place.
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