Biden Expands San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Along Pacific Crest Trail

In a massive win for conservation, President Biden announced earlier this month the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument outside of Los Angeles, California. Originally designated by President Obama in 2014, this monument is expanding by 106,000 aces in the southwest corner.

For Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers, the San Gabriel Mountains are a formidable range, serving as the last big mountain range in the southern California section of the trail. The PCT, which cuts through this area for 87 miles, is now fully surrounded by this land expansion, further protecting a region rich in ecological diversity, geological resources, and cultural heritage.

Map of the San Gabriel expansion. Photo via

Conservation & Cultural Significance

This expansion is crucial for a variety of reasons, including the preservation of vital desert ecosystems that support numerous sensitive, threatened, and endangered species, such as the iconic California condor. The San Gabriels also provide essential corridors for wildlife migration. 

The newly added lands are home to diverse flora, fauna, and unique geological features, shaped over millions of years, which offer invaluable insights into the Earth’s history.

Furthermore, the expanded monument also protects lands historically significant to Indigenous people, including the Gabrielino, Kizh, Tongva, Chumash, Kitanemuk, Serrano, and Tataviam — tribes that were instrumental in turning this expansion into reality. These Indigenous communities have long relied on the land for sacred ceremonial purposes and the collection of traditional plants for basketry, food, and medicine. 

“These expansions honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting scientific features, including critical wildlife habitat and migration corridors, safeguarding clean water, and supporting local economies,” states the Biden Administration press release.

Enhancing the Pacific Crest Trail

Photo via

This expansion also brings additional protection to the 87 miles of the PCT inside the monument, ensuring hikers enjoy a pristine, well-preserved environment for generations to come. To manage high visitation levels and improve user experience, the Biden Administration has committed to investing in enhanced recreation infrastructure, including better-maintained trails and improved facilities by increasing staffing and restoring natural resources. 

Furthermore, an elite national monument status often increases economic growth for neighboring trail towns, drawing visitors, hikers, and other recreationists to the area. Small communities along the PCT in the San Gabriel corridor could benefit greatly from the economic growth this expansion brings. 

Preservation for Generations to Come

The expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument underscores the importance of protecting America’s natural and cultural heritage. By safeguarding these lands, we ensure that future generations of thru-hikers and recreationists can enjoy and benefit from these remarkable landscapes.

According to an article from the PCTA, “(We) support the designation of monument lands along the trail. We regard national monuments as far-sighted protections for iconic landscapes that hold incalculable value for outdoor recreation, landscape preservation, cultural heritage recognition, and protection of wildlife and clean air and water sources.”

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Comments 2

  • Yam : May 21st

    Wonderful news. And thanks for the wonderful write-up. Now I have to follow. Thank you. THANK YOU

    • Ariella Nardizzi : May 21st

      Thank you for the follow!


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