The Montebello Hills, located in the northeast section of Montebello in the western San Gabriel Valley, are the last large area of open space left between the Los Angeles River and the Rio Hondo. The approximately 480 acres of undeveloped land, currently used for oil production, represent less than a third of the original hills. The western portion of the hills have been developed with densely-packed housing tracts and a dump.
These remaining Hills are a unique natural area, which support numerous native plants and animals including the now rare coastal sage scrub habitat, the endangered California gnatcatcher, and red tailed hawks, which can sometimes be seen soaring over the nearby Pomona (60) Freeway.
The Montebello Hills act as watershed for the Rio Hondo and are a potential crown jewel in the Emerald Necklace, an urban park network of trails, parks and greenways along the San Gabriel River and the Rio Hondo. Preserved as a natural park, the Hills will provide recreation, relaxation, ecotourism, and an opportunity to experience nature for residents of Montebello, numerous nearby citiies and developed county areas. The park's features will draw visitors from outside the area, attracted by its hiking, biking, horseback riding, nature study and picknicking opportunities. It will stand as a refuge from urbanization for people of all ages, will protect habitat and will maintain an important wildlife corridor.
The Montebello Hills are currently owned by the Plains Exploration and Production Company, which is preparing to develop these hills for residential and commercial use.
Save Our Montebello Hills Task Force has organized to advocate our vision for protection and preservation of this unique area as a park.
[photo credits: Jeff Yann and Michael Popoff]