25 million people+ live in southern California, and the side effects of those people's lives can have a dangerous affect on the beautiful, rugged mountains that also make up the region! Obama has announced the creation of the 350,000-acre San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, increasing protection for more than half of the 655,000-acre range. It seems his aims are probably not only to create a legacy for himself by doing, but more importantly, to improve the way the environment is treated in the region. When the plan was initially announced, there was a lot of opposition from some mountain communities in the area, who fear that their livelihood's would be endangered by the protection range, and by those who fear that firefighters won't be able to properly fight fires in the fire threat areas. With an eye towards appeasing these people, some areas have been excluded, and special provisions for fire prevention will exist. The area is currently monitored by the underfunded National Forest Service; supporters of the monument hope that it's designation as a monument will help get the support the area needs to protect the mountains. The San Gabriels Mountains get nearly as many visitors each year as both Yosemite and the Grand Canyon; now it's our time to protect it! This year, instead of going to the Grand Canyon or Yosemit for your outdoor adventure, consider heading to Southern California instead!