Mt. Baldy residents protest Judy Chu's national monument plan

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Mt. Baldy residents gathered Monday to protest a plan to make part of their community a national monument. (KABC)

Mount Baldy residents like their community just the way it is. That's why some of them gathered Monday outside of a local congresswoman's office to protest a plan that would make part of their community a national monument.

"This area has been the same for 50 to 100 years. It's the same houses, the same road, the same mountain trails, nothing has changed," said resident and business owner Missy Ellingson.

The proposal from U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Pasadena) would designate 600,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.

Ellington says the status change could mean closing some areas and imposing fees.

"It's very easy to be on the side of saving mountains. I think we all want to save our mountains. There are no limitations to any access up here. And they are saying that you would have more access, which is just a complete lie," said Ellingson.

However according to Chu, there will be no additional fees. Chu says the plan would protect water resources while investing in hiking trail repair and improve visitor facilities, like restrooms.

"People can continue to hunt, hike, bike and do off-road vehicle use. Those who have cabins will continue to be able to utilize them, and the ski resort in Mount Baldy will continue as before," Chu said.

Chu is asking President Barack Obama to use his executive powers to make the change. But many people gathered outside of Chu's Pasadena office to protest what they are calling a federal land grab.

"Most people don't know what's going on because it's a big secret," said Peter Amundson, who is the former mayor of Arcadia. "They want to pass it before people know what's going on. They want to take away people's rights before they figure out what has happened."

Despite the opposition, Mr. Obama could actually sign an executive order designating a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument as early as this week, when he will be in town for a visit.

Related Topics:
politicsmountainscongresspresident barack obamaprotestMount Baldy
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