In February 2015 President Obama designated Browns Canyon National Monument under the authority of the Antiquities Act. The act by the president came after years of work by the local community who built a diverse coalition supporting protection of the area, and a bill introduced by Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet in 2013.
The Senator’s bill was a well-balanced approach that accommodates input from rafting outfitters, fishing guides, local leaders and ranchers. But the bill failed to pass in a gridlocked congress. The monument now protects 21,586 acres around the Arkansas River, which wildlife populations as well as local tourism economies depend heavily upon. The monument designation puts a star on the map for Browns Canyon.
For a number of years, citizens have actively pursued the review, management and protection of Browns Canyon as part the National Wilderness Preservation System. These 20,000 acres offer excellent primitive recreation and hunting for those who understand and enjoy the solitude and value of wilderness. It is one of the few low-elevation semi-desert areas in Colorado, accessible during fall, winter and spring. Fortunately, the area is free from timber, mineral and water conflicts. It is important winter range for about 50 head of bighorn sheep as well as elk, mule deer, black bear, mountain lion and smaller wildlife. This section of the Arkansas River is a destination for whitewater rafters. It's the busiest stretch of river, with over 90,000 visitor days per year. Protection of the surrounding wildlands will benefit these visitors and the tourism industry they support.
View our Virtual Tour to get an even closer look at this spectacular region:
You may also learn more by viewing the video below. EcoFlight provided flights for the production of this in-depth look at the Browns Canyon stretch of the Arkansas river. The film called ‘The Spirit of Browns Canyon” was produced by Sam Bricker and Nathan Ward.
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