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Protecting Colorado's Browns Canyon

Browns Canyon, Colorado, credit John Fielder, johnfielderdotcom

Rafters on the Arkansas River at Brown's Canyon -- by John Fielder (johnfielder.com)

U.S. Senator Mark Udall yesterday announced he will introduce legislation to permanently protect Colorado's Browns Canyon as a national monument. Following months of public input, the proposal will safeguard 22,000 acres between Salida and Buena Vista, create more than 10,000 acres of new wilderness, and ensure continued public access to one of the most popular rafting destinations in the country.

"We're pleased that Senator Udall is giving Browns Canyon the recognition it deserves," said Alan Apt, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter wilderness chair. "The area's unique mix of exciting whitewater, wildlife, and outdoor recreation make it an important part of our outdoor heritage and our outdoor economy, which is why so many of us here in Colorado want to see it protected."   

Browns Canyon was formed by the Arkansas River, which runs 1,400 miles from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi. This amazing area provides sweeping views and recreation opportunities for every season. While the white water of Browns Canyon already draws rafting enthusiasts from near and far, national monument designation will truly put Browns Canyon on the map. Visitor experiences will be preserved and improved, an amazing wild place will be safeguarded, and local businesses will gain a competitive advantage that comes with protected public lands. Colorado's outdoor industry is already one of the largest in the country, contributing $10 billion annually to the state and providing over 100,000 jobs.

"Senator Udall's outreach has confirmed broad public support from local communities and nearly 200 businesses," said John Stansfield, wilderness chair for the Pikes Peak Sierra Club Group. "A Browns Canyon National Monument will ensure that this remarkable landscape is preserved while continuing current use and access to the area. We look forward to working with Senator Udall and others to finalize permanent protections for Browns Canyon."

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