Actions will protect nearly 120,000 acres of culturally, ecologically, and historically important lands in California while expanding outdoor access for local communities

President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history

Since their first day in office, President Biden and Vice President Harris have delivered on the most ambitious climate and conservation agenda in history. This includes the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, which is supporting locally led conservation efforts across the country with a goal to protect, conserve, and restore at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. The Biden-Harris Administration has already conserved more than 41 million acres of lands and waters – putting President Biden on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history.
Today, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to protect America’s natural wonders for future generations, honor areas of cultural significance to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples, and expand access to nature, President Biden will sign proclamations expanding the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Together, these actions will protect nearly 120,000 acres of lands in California of scientific, cultural, ecological, and historical importance, adding unparalleled value to these already beloved national monuments and expanding outdoor access to nearby underserved and disadvantaged communities. The proclamation for the Berryessa Snow Mountain expansion also renames the ridgeline at the heart of the expansion, previously known as “Walker Ridge,” to Molok Loyuk, which means Condor Ridge in the language of the area’s Patwin people.
These expansions honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting sacred ancestral places and their historically important features, while conserving our public lands, protecting scientific features, including critical wildlife habitat and migration corridors, safeguarding clean water, and supporting local economies. Federal, state, and local leaders, Tribal governments, Indigenous communities, and a coalition of community-based and conservation organizations came together to advocate for the additional protections for both of these national monuments. The sites protected through these expansions will ensure that future generations can experience, learn from, and enjoy these irreplaceable resources.
Vice President Harris has been a critical leader on efforts to ensure protections for California public lands, including the lands protected by these proclamations. In 2018, then-Senator Harris introduced the “San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act,” the first Senate proposal to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. In addition, then-Senator Harris introduced the “Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act,” a legislative package of three bills, including the “San Gabriel Mountains Protection Act,” that together would have increased protections and access for over 1 million acres of California lands, including nearly 600,000 acres of new wilderness and over 100,000 acres of new national monument lands. The proclamation that the President is signing today will permanently protect the lands in the San Gabriel Mountains covered by those bills.
Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has established or expanded seven national monuments (including through today’s actions) and restored protections for three more; created four new national wildlife refuges and significantly expanded five more; protected the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the nation’s most visited wilderness area; safeguarded Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska; and withdrawn Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Thompson Divide in Colorado from further oil and gas leasing which will protect pristine lands and thousands of sacred sites.
Expanding San Gabriel Mountains National Monument
President Biden is taking action to expand the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, which President Obama designated in 2014, near Los Angeles, California. The proclamation will add 105,919 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands to the south and west of the current monument’s 346,177 acres; protect additional cultural, scientific, and historic objects; and expand access to outdoor recreation on our shared public lands for generations to come.
Since time immemorial, the rich landscape within the expansion area has sustained Indigenous peoples, including the people known as the Gabrielino, Kizh, or Tongva, and the Chumash, Kitanemuk, Serrano, and Tataviam peoples. Today, their descendants are part of Tribal Nations and other Indigenous peoples in the region, some of whose members continue to use the area for ceremonial purposes, as well as for collecting traditional plants important for basketry, food, and medicine.
The lands added to the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument contain spectacular cultural, geological, and ecological resources. A diversity of animals, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife, including numerous sensitive, threatened, and endangered species, live among the unique geological and ecological features of the area, including its unusual canyons, chapparal and coastal sage scrub lands, riparian woodlands, and conifer forests. These lands also provide homes to some of California’s most imperiled and iconic birds, including the endangered California condor. The area includes key habitats that support wetland-dependent plant species, sensitive fish and amphibians, and migration corridors. The area also holds important geologic significance; the exceptional landscape of the San Gabriel Mountains, shaped by massive geologic forces over hundreds of millions of years, provides views deep into ancient earth.
Though it is adjacent to highly developed areas of Los Angeles, the expansion area includes highly secluded and largely undeveloped areas, such as the 4,700-acre Arroyo Seco inventoried Roadless Area—an iconic landscape feature. The expanded monument’s natural lands and increased proximity to the city make it a unique place of rejuvenation and recreation for the people of the ever-changing urban and suburban communities of the greater Los Angeles region.
President Biden’s proclamation directs the U.S. Forest Service to manage the area according to the same terms, conditions, and management as the original national monument designation, which respects grazing permits, water rights, existing infrastructure, military use of airspace, state management of wildlife, and wildfire response, among other things. The proclamation directs the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a management plan for expansion area, incorporating Indigenous Knowledge and maximum community input. With this designation, the U.S. Forest Service will establish a Federal Advisory Committee to provide information and advice regarding the development of the management plan and management of the expansion. The committee will include state agencies and local governments; Tribal nations and Indigenous communities with cultural, traditional, or ancestral ties to the area; recreational users; conservation organizations; wildlife, hunting, and fishing organizations; the scientific community; business owners; and the general public in the region.
To better manage the high levels of visitation to this popular area, the Administration, alongside state and private partners, is also investing to improve outdoor recreation infrastructure, restore and protect resources, and increase staffing to create an improved visitor experience in the existing and expanded national monument.  
Expanding Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
President Biden will also sign a proclamation expanding the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, originally designated by President Obama in 2015, in northern California. This expansion honors Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples through the protection of this sacred California landscape and its historically and biologically important features, while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy. The expansion will add 13,696 acres of public lands, managed by the Department of the Interior, to the monument’s original 330,000 acres, which are jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S Forest Service. 
The expansion area includes the portion of Molok Luyuk that is outside the boundary of the existing monument. The striking 11-mile north-to-south ridgeline, sacred to the Patwin people, is dotted with a mosaic of unique geologic and hydrologic features. The ridge is flanked by iconic California chapparal-covered canyons, oak and cypress woodlands, and spring-fed meadows. Unusual and rare serpentine wetlands dot Molok Luyuk and its downward slopes are fed by the numerous seeps and springs scattered across the area, underpinning the region’s prolific botanical richness—nearly 500 native California plant species have been identified within the expansion area, including at least 38 different special-status plants. Molok Luyuk also serves as a wildlife corridor for species such as tule elk, mountain lions, and bears, and is home to iconic species such as bald and golden eagles. Conserving this area fortifies protection for the scientifically critical north-south migration corridor provided by the existing monument.
The name Molok Luyuk recalls a time when California condors were a common sight soaring above the ridge, and the Patwin people would celebrate them with dances and ceremonies. On a clear day, the highest points of Molok Luyuk offer a commanding view of the surrounding rugged and undeveloped landscape, encompassing Mount Shasta to the north, Mount Tamalpais to the southwest, and Sutter Buttes to the east. The view of the sun rising over Sutter Buttes to the east is central to the Patwin origin story. The expansion area contains evidence of occupation by Indigenous people for more than 10,000 years.
This expansion of the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument honors the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, and other Tribal Nations and Indigenous leaders who worked tirelessly to ensure protection of these sacred lands for generations to come. In order to reflect the historic, spiritual, and cultural significance of Molok Luyuk to the Patwin people, the President has also directed that the ridgeline be officially renamed Molok Luyuk. To further honor the ties of the Patwin people to these lands, the President’s proclamation also directs the Secretary of the Interior to explore co-stewardship of the area with Tribal Nations.
The proclamation directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to manage the area according to the same terms, conditions, and management as the original national monument designation, which respects grazing permits, water rights, military use of airspace, state management of wildlife, and wildfire response among other things. It also directs the BLM to include the expansion area in the monument plan for the entire monument and to issue a travel management plan.
Background on Antiquities Act Designations
Today’s expansions only reserve federal lands and do not affect the property rights of state or private land owners. Any existing state or private lands within the boundaries are not included in the monuments.
Today’s designations mark President Biden’s ninth and tenth uses of the Antiquities Act. President Theodore Roosevelt first used the Antiquities Act in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. Since then, 18 presidents of both parties have used this authority to protect unique natural and historic features in America, including the Statue of Liberty, Colorado’s Canyon of the Ancients, and the Grand Canyon.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top