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A Star on the Map for Browns Canyon

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
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Dear Fellow Coloradan,

VIDEO: Protecting our Outdoor Heritage

Unveiling the Bill

After working for nearly two years to develop a collaborative, community-driven plan to create Browns Canyon National Monument, I was pleased to recently announce the introduction of my bill in Nathrop. Watch video.

Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon National Monument and Wildness Area

This proposal would protect some of our most-loved river rafting spots along the iconic Arkansas River between Salida and Buena Vista by designating the area as a national monument and the adjacent Browns Canyon as wilderness. The official designation would literally put the region on the map, drawing more visitors to its world-class outdoor recreation opportunities and supporting the local tourism economy.

Browns Canyon

Working with Chaffee County Businesses

During my most recent trip to the communities near Browns Canyon, I met with local small businesses in Buena Vista and Salida to hear how my Browns Canyon legislation will help their businesses to grow. You can see the photos from these visits on Flickr.

Coloradans don’t have to look far to see how truly magnificent our state is. From the towering 14,000-foot peaks of the High Country to the grasslands of the Eastern Plains, I love calling Colorado home. Our diverse and stunning landscapes allow us to enjoy the outdoors year-round with plentiful hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, kayaking and dozens of other activities to keep us moving.

The public lands that form the foundation of our high quality of life also sustain thousands of jobs that boost our state’s economy. Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy contributes more than $13 billion annually to our state, supporting over 125,000 jobs and generating almost $1 billion in state and local tax revenues.

That is why I can say with confidence that when we work hand-in-hand with communities to preserve public lands, we are supporting jobs, our economy and Colorado’s high quality of life. Our world-class natural amenities are one of our greatest economic engines, and preserving public lands helps keep jobs, entrepreneurs, and investment moving to and thriving in our state.

I became engaged in the movement to recognize Browns Canyon because local residents and businesses asked me to. I worked side-by-side over the last 18 months with Chaffee County leaders, residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to hold several public meetings and conduct more than 50 face-to-face meetings. The resulting bill is emblematic of how public lands bills should be done: from the bottom up and based on what the community wants.

My community-driven proposal designates 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River canyon and surrounding backcountry as the Browns Canyon National Monument, including 10,500 acres as Wilderness. This bill preserves visitor access and protects existing legal uses as they are now, so fishing, hunting, livestock grazing, commercial outfitting, mountain biking and motorized use will all continue as they have been. I’d also like to note that this will not be like a National Park Service monument. Instead, this monument will stay under the same management as it has now — the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

I believe that we don’t inherit the land and water from our parents — we borrow it from our children. Having visited Browns Canyon and kayaked the Arkansas River many times, I know that Coloradans from all walks of life agree. That's why I am dedicated to leading the fight — with Coloradans by my side — to ensure that future generations of Coloradans can enjoy the Browns Canyon National Monument and experience this unique mix of exciting whitewater and wilderness backcountry.

Click HERE to learn more about my proposal and to review the map of Browns Canyon National Monument.

Warm regards,

Mark Udall

Tags: e-newsletter
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