Synchronistically, as we were discussing NFMA planning, I received an email from Senator Udall’s office. My italics.. note two things, it was based on community negotiating, and uses will not change or be revised on a regular (or not so regular) basis. And it’s “All Lands”. I didn’t look at 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.
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.
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.
Visit my website to learn more about my work to create the Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Area.
The website is worth looking at and points out that more planning will be done..but the agencies are going to do it together and it doesn’t sound like it would have NFMA’s requirements.