The Final Environmental Assessment, draft Decision Notice, and Finding of No Significant Impact for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan are complete, and a 45-day official objection period begins Friday before one of three options is chosen.
The final EA presents the environmental consequences of three alternatives analyzed in detail, including a no-action alternative.
Current management would continue in accordance with the 2005 Angeles National Forest land management plan. No changes would be made to the existing land management plan, aside from the mineral withdrawal provided by the Proclamation. Continuing current management would include the use of standard operating procedures and best management practices from the ANF LMP for managing lands within the Monument.
The Forest Service proposes adding management direction as an Amendment to the ANF LMP to capture the changes in the Monument Plan. The majority of the ANF LMP direction still applies to the Monument. The Monument Plan EA tiers to the Final Environmental Impact Statement, volumes 1 and 2 for the LMP for the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino National Forests. To gain efficiency, the existing plan components are not repeated in the Monument Plan, which is available on the ANF website and in the project record.
Existing Land Management Plan Direction that has been Modified or Replaced: Similar to Alternative 2, the majority of the ANF LMP direction still applies to the Monument
under Alternative 3. The ANF LMP plan direction that no longer applies to the Monument under this alternative is the same as what is described for Alternative 2.
Alternative 3 further determines that free-use rock, invertebrate fossils, and mineral collecting for non-commercial personal uses is not suitable within the Monument, as prohibited under 36 CFR 261.9(b).
The proposed monument plan respects and conserves the significant, unique landscapes, vistas and features of this special area, while it will continue to allow existing land uses and provide the experiences, jobs and services that boost the local economy.
The plan will provide guidance for the Angeles National Forest to manage the area’s unique ecological, social and cultural resources for many years to come.
The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument was established in 2014 by Presidential Proclamation and encompasses more than 346,000 acres of high use public land managed by the USDA Forest Service as a part of the Angeles National Forest.
The San Gabriel Mountains rise from coastal lands to the west and desert to the east to provide some of the most breathtaking vistas Southern California has to offer. More than 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains, which provide area residents roughly 30 percent of their water and 70 percent of their open space.
The Monument area is located in the northern and southeastern portions of the San Gabriel Mountains, approximately 30 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. It’s about 80 miles southeast and a two and a half hour drive from the Santa Clarita Valley.
“We are excited to have this analysis to the finish line,” Forest Supervisor Jeff Vail said. “The collaborative effort with our many partners has been outstanding, and we will soon have a final decision once the objection period has concluded.”
According to federal planning rules, the next step is to offer an objection period to provide those interested in or affected by this action an opportunity to object to the proposed Monument Plan prior to a final decision being made.
The forest supervisor of the Angeles National Forest will decide whether to amend the land management plan as proposed in Alternative 3 of the environmental assessment or make adjustments based on objections received during the objection period.
As a reminder, objections will be accepted during the 45-day official objection period only from those who have previously submitted substantive formal comments specific to the proposed plan amendment during any previous public comment period.
Electronic objections may be submitted in common formats such as .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, or .txt. Objections may also be faxed to 707-562-9229 to the attention of “OBJECTION: San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan Amendment,” sent by mail to the following address: Barnie Gyant, 1323 Club Dr. Vallejo, CA 94592; or hand-delivered during normal business hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
A copy of the final EA and decision notice/FONSI and related documents are available at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor’s Office and on the project website. Scroll down to “Project Documents” and click on the “Decision” tab.
To learn more about the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument follow us on Twitter or “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/angelesnationalforest.