Browns Canyon Designated as National Monument

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by CMC Lands Manager Julie Mach

Thank you Mr. President!

CMC is sending a big shout out to the Obama Administration, former Senator Mark Udall and the thousands of individuals who helped make the Browns Canyon National Monument a reality!

The White House announced  Feb. 15 the long-awaited executive action which designates the new monument through the Antiquities Act.

Nestled in Central Colorado, Browns Canyon is one of the state’s crown jewels. It offers a range of year-round recreational opportunities in a beautiful and wild setting. In addition to being the nation’s most popular whitewater-rafting destination, Browns also offers hiking, kayaking, hunting, fishing and photography opportunities. The area is home to the Arkansas River, a variety of wildlife and an abundance of lands with wilderness characteristics.

In fact, it was a Wilderness campaign that initially drew CMC advocates and staff to begin working with groups like American Whitewater, Friends of Browns Canyon and congressional delegates (most recently Udall’s and Bennett’s offices) to seek protection for this landscape.  We want to express our thanks again to all the CMC members, partner organizations, local businesses and nationwide advocates who wrote letters, attended meetings, led trips and spoke out in support of Browns Canyon. In December 2014, a record-breaking crowd gathered in a standing-room-only event in Salida and demonstrated overwhelming support for the designation. As a Salida resident, it was incredible to see such a strong turnout from locals, Front Rangers and statewide advocates to protect land in our little corner of the world.

Although the political stars did not align for pure Wilderness protection, the National Monument designation should similarly protect the pristine natural resources and recreation opportunities in Browns Canyon. The next steps will include a management plan to designate use of the land which includes State Parks and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service property. CMC was pleased to be a part of the National Monument designation and congratulates the citizens of Chaffee County and the entire nation on their success in protecting this landscape for generations to come.

 

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