Seeking Permanent Protection: Wilderness Areas

Located within the spectacular lands of the San Gabriel Mountains are three Wilderness areas that can be expanded and two new proposed Wilderness areas. Wilderness is the the strongest form of legal protection available for federal public lands, and only Congress can designate an area as Wilderness. Wilderness also preserves our wild lands as a refuge for wildlife and for quiet recreation like hunting, hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. In addition, these areas include the headwaters of rivers and streams that provide much of our local clean drinking water. San Gabriel Mountain Forever’s vision is to protect 121,134 acres of public lands as Wilderness. These areas include:

Sheep Mountain Wilderness Addition
This proposal would add 17,698 acres, including the Pacific Crest Trail between Mt. Baden Powell and Mt. Hawkins, the Baldy Bowl, and the upper canyons of the East Fork and tributary canyons of the East Fork San Gabriel River, where hikers and anglers can experience nature in its grandest proportions. This area is home to endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs and California spotted owls, as well as Nelson’s bighorn sheep.

Cucamonga Wilderness Addition
Includes 11,511 acres that span the rugged slopes and canyons of the upper Lytle Creek watershed where huge sugar pine and rare sensitive lemon lilies grow and Nelson’s bighorn sheep graze. This area is also one of the last remaining islands of subalpine Wilderness in Southern California.

San Gabriel Wilderness Addition
A 5,029-acre expansion that includes part of the San Gabriel River’s upper West Fork, an important source of clean drinking water and the route of the Gabrieleno National Recreation Trail. Its north-facing slopes support one of the region’s largest forests of big cone Douglas fir and live oaks, and offer excellent recreational opportunities.

Condor Peak Wilderness
This new 17,084-acre area encompasses the northern tributaries of Big Tujunga Canyon and the popular Trail Canyon area. These watersheds contributes fresh water to Big Tujunga, which is an important source of local drinking water and an area of high ecological significance.

Castaic Wilderness
This proposed 69,812-acre area is located in the northern portion of the Angeles National Forest, north of the San Gabriel Mountains and the City of Santa Clarita. The area supports diverse oak forests, rare plants, and native amphibians, and is a key wildlife migration path between the Angeles National Forest and the Los Padres National Forest to the west.

Map of the proposed Wilderness Area (PDF)