December 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 34

The San Gabriels National Monument
includes 346,177 acres of national
forest land.

The San Gabriel Mountains:
A National Monument for All
By Robert García and Michelle Kao

P

resident Barack Obama designated a national monument in the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California to promote environmental quality,
economic vitality and health for all on October 10, 2014. This is a historic
moment, when the president recognizes that green access is a social justice issue
and agencies need to address these values. His words and actions resonate with
NRPA's Three Pillars: Conservation, Health and Wellness, and Social Equity.
" That's what makes this particular
designation so important, " President Obama said. " We heard from
the community...Too many children
in L.A. County, especially children
of color, don't have access to parks
where they can run free, breathe
fresh air, experience nature and learn
about their environment. This is an
issue of social justice. Because it's not
enough to have this awesome natural
wonder within your sight - you have
to be able to access it. "

32	 Parks & Recreation

Improving public access helps address equally important health justice values. According to the White
House, studies show that increasing
recreational access to public lands
translates to higher levels of youth
activity and lower youth obesity rates.
The National Park Service (NPS)
and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE) agree. Communities with
the least amount of parks and open
space tend to have higher rates of
childhood diseases related to obesity

| D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

such as diabetes, according to the NPS
study on the San Gabriels. Los Angeles is one of the most disadvantaged
counties in terms of access to park and
open space for people of color, particularly children. Non-Hispanic white
people have 12 to 15 times more park
acreage per capita than Latinos and
African-Americans. According to USACE, much of Los Angeles is park-deficient, with less than 3 acres of green
space per 1,000 residents. Park access
is lowest in areas with the highest number of families below an annual household income of $47,331. Environmental justice requires agencies to address
these disparities, according to both
agencies, citing Executive Order 12898
on environmental justice and health.
The NPS and USACE studies are best



December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of December 2014 - Parks & Recreation

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