Board Opposes National Monument Maneuver

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Tuesday opposing the designation of a National Monument in the San Bernardino County portion of the San Gabriel Mountains.

“I am happy that the Board of Supervisors unanimously supported the resolution opposing a national monument designation in the San Bernardino County portion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument,”  1st District Supervisor Robert A. Lovingood said. “This proposal has moved too far, too fast, has bypassed public input from our residents, skirts Congress, and has failed to answer even the most basic questions on how this will impact the public. I have a problem with that.”

Lovingood said that federal officials have provided nothing in writing on the proposal, and even basic information has not been forthcoming.

“If the US Forest Service wants to move ahead without public hearings locally, then it may be best to remove San Bernardino County from this National Monument proposal,” Lovingood said.

The Supervisor has spoken about modifying the boundaries of the proposed National Monument with Robert Bonnie, an under-secretary of Agriculture. Those discussions are on going.

By adoption of this resolution, the County of San Bernardino stated its support for a full Congressional and public process for potential  designation of either a National Monument or National Recreation Area and requests that the Obama Administration delay any action on designation of a National Monument within San Bernardino County unless sufficient time is given for public dialogue regarding the potential impacts and benefits of such a designation. Further, San Bernardino County jurisdictions, agencies and stakeholders should be granted adequate representation on any advisory, management, or policy council that is formed pursuant to any additional federal designation.

Congressman Paul Cook supported the Board of Supervisors resolution.

“While I believe strongly in protecting public lands, the President needs to ensure that he takes into account the needs of San Bernardino County and its residents,” Cook said. “Our constituents should be active participants in the development of a federal land-use designation that will impact their lives. Without an open and transparent process that includes local stakeholders, I can’t support the President’s plan to create the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.”

Lovingood said he was concerned that the National Monument designation could interfere with property rights, recreational activities as well as economic development, especially around Wrightwood, which would be encircled by the national monument designation. There is no written plan yet outlining how the National Monument status would impact recreation in the lands currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

In a briefing to local officials on Aug. 25, Forest Service officials indicated concerns over trash and graffiti spurred the move by Congresswoman Judy Chu, D-Pasadena, to ask President Barack Obama to bypass Congress and use the Antiquities Act to make the designation. Forest Service officials have said national monument status would not guarantee additional funding or resources if the President designates the lands as a National Monument.

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