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DIVERSIFYING ACCESS TO AND SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL FORESTS

NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2004

Angeles Forest

The National Forests in Southern California — Angeles, San Bernardino, Cleveland, and Los Padres — are four of the most urban-influenced forests in the nation, serving over 20 million people who live within an hour’s drive. The City Project is working with the National Hispanic Environmental Council and others to diversify support for and access to these forests.

The City Project recently submitted comments to the Forest Service regarding the draft management plans and environmental impact statement (EIS) for these forests. The EIS and management plans offer key opportunities to influence the direction of forest management for the next 20 years. Yet between 77 and 83% of visitors to the Angeles, Cleveland, and Los Padres National Forests are non-Hispanic White, according to the DEIS, in a region that is disproportionately people of color and in a state in which Whites are in the minority. Fully 93% of visitors to wilderness areas in Los Padres are non-Hispanic Whites.

The City Project is leading a diverse alliance to:

  • Expand opportunities for low-impact recreation like family outings, hiking and fishing.
  • Increase access to our National Forests for all communities.
  • Eliminate excessive development in the forests and protect habitat and wildlife.
  • Diversify employment and volunteer opportunities related to the forests.
  • Create a stronger link between recreation, environmental, and urban forestry activities in key communities.
  • Implement a forest entry system that is fair to working families.
  • Ensure equitable funding for land acquisition, facilities, programs, and operations for our National Forests.
  • Provide for public transportation options to reach the forests.
  • Address the impact of the forests on the health of our communities.
  • Create an Advisory Committee with representatives from diverse communities to address environmental justice, environmental quality, and social justice concerns.

Members of the Diverse Alliance Include: Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, Antes Columbus Soccer Club, ASOSAL (Associacion de Salvadoreños de Los Angeles), Community Voice Los Angeles, Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles, Expo Neighbors, Family Forests Project, Healthy Homes Collaborative (a coalition of 30 housing and health advocates), Hermandad Los Angeles Economic & Community Development Corporation, Latino Issues Forum, Latino Urban Forum, Libreria del Pueblo, Los Angeles Metropolitan Churches, Lynwood Latino Coalition, National Association for Olmsted Parks, National Hispanic Environmental Council, Old Timers Foundation, Pacoima Beautiful, Padres del Sur Este, Planning and Conservation League, Plaza Community Center, Residents of Pico Rivera for Environmental Justice, and others.