I am proposing the Browns Canyon National Monument so that future generations of Coloradans can enjoy the area’s unique mix of exciting whitewater, wildlife and wilderness recreation close to the Front Range.
My proposal is based on more than a year's worth of public meetings, outreach and input from local residents and stakeholders.
You can read the bill by clicking HERE.
If you've never had the chance to visit Browns Canyon, watch this video to get a sense of what the community is working to protect.
Map for U.S. Senator Mark Udall's Bill to Create the Browns Canyon National Monument by Mark Udall
What is in the draft "Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013"?
The “Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013” is a community-driven proposal that would establish the 22,000-acre Browns Canyon National Monument, preserving this unique natural and economic resource for future generations. Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to the canyon every year to raft or fish the Arkansas River, and the rugged and remote lands to the east feature quiet canyons and rock formations, outstanding habitat for deer and elk, and sweeping views of the Collegiate Peaks and the Arkansas Valley. This landscape supports thousands of jobs, from river outfitters and ranchers to the Main Street businesses of Salida and Buena Vista.
Over the last 18 months, U.S. Senator Mark Udall developed this bill working side-by-side with Chaffee County leaders, residents, businesses and other stakeholders. During that time, he and his staff held several public meetings, received thousands of written comments and conducted more than 50 face-to-face meetings. He released a draft bill in March 2013, and the final bill includes several important improvements based on community input:
- Clarifies that local ranchers can continue to run livestock in the area and transfer their grazing allotments to future generations;
- Adjusts a boundary to exclude cattle watering tanks from the National Monument; and,
- Bans commercial-scale mining for the bed and banks of the river, protecting water supplies, boaters and anglers.
What is in the “Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013”?
- New National Monument
Designates 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River canyon as a national monument that would be jointly managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the state of Colorado through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA)
- New Wilderness
Designates 10,500 acres of new wilderness within the national monument (8,000 acres of existing BLM Wilderness Study Area plus 2,500 acres of land managed by the U.S. Forest Service).
- Ensures Public Access
Preserves visitor access to the area as it exists now. Visitors will continue to experience the new National Monument by rafting through the canyon or by driving from U.S. Highway 285 into existing recreation sites with parking, campgrounds, trails, restrooms and river access.
- Protects Existing Legal Uses as They Are Now
Uses such as fishing, hunting, livestock grazing, commercial outfitting, water supplies, mountain biking, and motorized use will continue as they do now.
- Ongoing Community Involvement
After designation, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service will solicit public input to develop a detailed management plan for the area. This plan will guide the area’s management and determine what, if any, additional recreation and visitor facilities might be appropriate.