EMERYVILLE, Calif.—Trout Unlimited (TU), the nation’s oldest and largest sportsmen’s organization dedicated to conserving and restoring trout and salmon and their habitat, today cheered President Obama’s designation of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.
Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited, said, “We strongly endorse this designation, which should help protect and enhance the unique fishing and hunting opportunities in the San Gabriel Mountains. We thank President Obama and Rep. Judy Chu for their leadership in protecting America’s outdoor heritage.”
Wood noted that the San Gabriel Mountains provide the closest trout fishing for millions of people. “The more we connect people with outdoor experiences, the better they will advocate for conservation. And we need more advocates for conservation,” said Wood.
The East and West Forks of the San Gabriel River flow through the San Gabriel range, providing a rare opportunity for stream fishing in southern California and one of the region’s few designated Wild Trout waters. Remnant populations of trout in their headwaters have been genetically linked to the native – and endangered — southern steelhead.
Jessica Strickland, TU’s California Field Coordinator, said “The San Gabriels are a unique and historic complex of public lands with high fishing and hunting values and in every respect deserve national monument status.” Strickland attended President Obama’s designation ceremony today at Bonelli Park in San Dimas on behalf of southern California sportsmen and women.
TU has worked for nearly a decade to support initiatives that would better protect the fish and wildlife resources of the San Gabriels. In particular, TU has helped to develop and advance legislation sponsored by Rep. Chu that would establish new Wild and Scenic River designations and a larger National Recreation Area. Chu’s legislation was developed over many years and is supported by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, agencies, and public officials.
Steve Moyer, TU’s vice president for government affairs, noted that TU generally supports special designations that will improve protection for and sporting opportunities on public lands where such designations have been considered and endorsed by local stakeholders. “In this case, we view national monument designation as a strong first step in a more comprehensive effort to protect and restore public lands habitat and fishing and hunting opportunities in the Angeles and San Bernardino national forests,” Moyer said.
A recent poll by Public Opinion Strategies found that 73 percent of sportsmen in the Los Angeles region support permanent protection for the San Gabriel Mountains.