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San Gabriel River Might Be Next for the National Park Portfolio

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Developments along the LA River have been getting a lot of attention and even private donations for some time now, but over on the San Gabriel River--the next watershed to the southeast of the Los Angeles River--plans are in the works to create a National Recreation Area that would possibly include the San Gabriel Mountains and foothills, the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers, and the western portion of the Puente Hills. The plans are detailed in the recently released draft of the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study and Environmental Assessment (available for public comment through December 16).

The National Park Service already hosted one public hearing about the plan in El Monte and, according to the Whittier Daily News, the most popular option with the crowd on hand was Alternative D, which, at 581,500 acres, would include mountain areas from Castaic to the Los Angeles County border of the Angeles National Forest, 3,000 acres of foothills in San Dimas, and river areas stretching from the San Gabriel River's farthest points south to Santa Fe Springs. Alternative D would also include the Puente Hills west of Harbor Boulevard, which has one of the last few California Walnut woodland habitats.

Alternative A would only include the San Gabriel Mountains. Alternative C would include the San Gabriel River and watershed and improve recreational and educational spots along the river. Alternative B was ruled out long ago.

Creating a National Recreation Area would bring in the National Park Service to help manage the land in a co-management arrangement with US Forest Service.

Meanwhile, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, which has been covering the plans, just released a pdf of a massive feature called The San Gabriel River: A River on the Edge from August 2000. Apparently the newspaper ran out of hard copies and produced the pdf to meet popular demand.
· Draft San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study [National Park Service]
· Diverse support shown for National Park Service proposal for San Gabriel Mountains, River [Whittier Daily News]
· National Parks Service hearing on Saturday in El Monte [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]
· The San Gabriel River: A River on the Edge [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]