President Obama Designates Browns Canyon National Monument - Colorado
Salida, CO – On February 19th, President Obama used his authority under the US Antiquities Act to protect over 21,000 acres of public lands surrounding Colorado’s Browns Canyon of the Arkansas River. American Whitewater and community leaders applaud the news that President Obama plans to designate the Browns Canyon National Monument on Thursday.
“We thank President Obama for acting today, and honoring the decades of work so many of Coloradoans have invested to protect Browns Canyon”, said Nathan Fey, Regional Director at American Whitewater. “If it were up to Coloradoans we would have protected Browns Canyon years ago, so we should all be proud that the president has acted when congress couldn’t”
Recent polling from the Colorado College showed that 96% of Coloradans support the protection and conservation of natural areas. Along with American Whitewater and our members, local groups and businesses have supported the national monument designation for Browns Canyon, including the Colorado and Arkansas River Outfitters Associations, Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, the Salida Business Alliance, sportsmen, youth, faith, veterans and Hispanic groups, and county commissioners. .
Browns Canyon is the most popular whitewater rafting destination in the country. According to the Colorado River Outfitters Association (CROA), commercial rafting on the Arkansas River which runs through Browns Canyon brings in roughly $60 million to the economy. The stretch of the Arkansas River that runs through Browns Canyon was awarded “Gold Medal” status for having the highest quality cold-water fish habitats accessible to the public and great potential for trophy trout fishing.
The president is using his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect Browns Canyon and two other new national monuments in Illinois and Hawaii this week. The Antiquities Act has been used to protect other landscapes important to paddlers, like the Grand Canyon and Dinosaur National Monument, but under the monument proposal introduced by former Senator Mark Udall, Browns Canyon will not be managed by the National Parks Service and paddling will continue to be managed by the Colorado State Parks as it is today. The president’s proclamation of Browns Canyon National Monument honors the spirit of Udall’s legislation that followed a multi-year process of input from local residents, paddlers, ranchers, and businesses.
Today, after years of work, you can join us in thanking
President Obama and Colorado's leaders, for Protecting Browns Canyon!
Stay tuned for more information on the Presidential Proclamation, which we anticipate will be released at 6am EST, on Thursday February 19th.