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A special resource study is prepared when the National Park Service is requested by Congress to study an area for possible inclusion in the national park system.

In a special resource study, a proposed addition to the national park system receives a favorable recommendation from the National Park Service only if it meets all of the following criteria:

- it possesses nationally significant natural or cultural resources;
- it is a suitable addition to the system;
- it is a feasible addition to the system; and
- it requires direct NPS management, instead of alternative protection by other public agencies or the private sector.

The San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study seeks to bring together the NPS process for special resource studies with the realities of densely populated urban communities, managed by many different landowners, agencies, and jurisdictions, interfacing with large areas of open space and wildlands. Using this combined approach, the primary emphasis of the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study is identifying opportunities for collaborative management and partnerships among local, state and federal governments and other entities, in order to:

- Address current and future recreation and open space needs;
- Protect or restore significant natural resources and important habitats;
- Preserve historic and cultural resources;
- Maintain or improve water quality, water conservation and flood protection.

  Planning Process:

Scoping: Start study process. Host public meetings. Collect and analyze public comments. (2005 - 2006)

Resource Analysis: Explore recreation and conservation needs. Identify nationally significant resources. (2005 - 2007)

Alternatives Development & Feasibility Analysis: Identify feasible roles for the NPS and develop alternative concepts. You are invited to help refine and develop these concepts through written comments and participation in public meetings. (2007 - 2010)

Draft Report: The Draft Report will contain a more detailed description and analysis of the area's resources and alternatives for the protection of significant resources and the enhancement of recreational opportunities. You will have an opportunity to comment on this draft before the report is finalized. (2011)

Final Report/Transmittal to Congress: The National Park Service has completed the San Gabriel Watershed and Mountains Special Resource Study. The Secretary of the Interior transmitted the final study to Congress on April 10, 2013.