Under recommendations sent by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to President Donal Trump While, six national monuments would be reduced in size with millions of acres of protected lands opened to grazing, logging and oil and gas exploration — but Southern California’s monuments may be spared.
Zinke did not offer changes to two local monuments: The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, a 346,177-acre swath of the Angeles National Forest from Santa Clarita to Mt. Baldy, and the Mojave Trails National Monument, a 1.6 million-acre desert landscape that bridges the area between Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve.
In the memo, Zinke did not spell out reasons why no changes were listed for those two monuments. The memo, a draft report from the secretary responding to an executive order calling for review of 27 national monuments established by previous presidents, was obtained by the Washington Post on Sunday and the Associated Press on Monday.
The White House told the Post it will not comment on leaked information.
But Daniel Rossman, acting California director for The Wilderness Society and a participant in getting the San Gabriel Mountains monument established nearly three years ago by President Barack Obama,said the local monument is not out of the woods.
“I would issue caution to anyone that says we are off the hook,” Rossman said. “This could mean they will try to impact the management plan of the San Gabriel Mountains monument, which is concerning,” he said on Monday.
In June, Rep. Paul Cook, R-Yucca Valley, had asked the Trump administration to shrink the boundaries of the San Gabriel Mountains monument.
The Sand to Snow National Monument, 154,000 acres in San Bernardino County that provides key wildlife corridors near Joshua Tree National Park, was removed from the review by Zinke last month.
The remaining monuments in California still part of the presidential review are:
- Giant Sequoia National Monument, which protects 33 groves of ancient sequoias — some of the world’s largest trees — across 328,000 acres of national forest land in the Sierra Nevada west of Visalia.
- Carrizo Plain National Monument, a 246,000-acre area owned by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management east of San Luis Obispo that is famous for carpets of wildflowers and that contains the largest native grassland remaining in California.
- Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, 331,000 federal acres between Mendocino County to Napa County known…