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From its headwaters high atop Mount San Antonio to its debouchment with the Pacific Ocean at Seal Beach, the San Gabriel River is one of the L.A. basin's most cherished and vital waterways. During its 60 mile trajectory the San Gabriel River flows through more than 19 cities, largely within concrete encased flood channels. The Azusa Canyon portion of the river has become a favorite destination for millions of Southern Californians, while the West, East and North Forks of the river drain the largest watershed in the mountain, and provide millions of residents with clean drinking water.

Recreational opportunities abound in the San Gabriel Mountains near the top of the river. The East Fork of the river provides a gateway to hiking within the Sheep Mountain wilderness, and in recent years many hikers have even taken to bungee jumping at the end of the 7-mile long hike to the Bridge to Nowhere. The West Fork offers a National Scenic Bike trail and access to a catch and release trout stream.

Currently, there are efforts underway to designate large portions of the river and the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Recreation Zone. The Emerald Necklace Project envisions connecting more than 1,500 acres of parks and open spaces along an interconnected greenway around the Rio Hondo, San Gabriel, and lower Los Angeles rivers.

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