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Udall Proposes New Browns Canyon National Monument

Mark Udall

Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall announced his proposal for a new National Monument and Wilderness area near Salida Thursday.

The new proposal designates 22,000 acres as Browns Canyon National Monument along with 10,500 acres inside the monument as new National Wilderness.

Senator Udall says the proposal, still in draft form, will preserve Browns Canyon, create jobs and protect the quality of life in Colorado. “We’ve crafted a balanced proposal that will preserve a remarkable landscape," said Udall. "And it will draw visitors that will boost the economy for what is a treasured part of Colorado.”

The new Browns Canyon National Monument will be situated between Salida and Buena Vista in the heart of Chaffee County. Udall says the land would be jointly managed by the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service in cooperation with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

The Senator says there will be little change to access, with most visitors rafting or boating through the new monument along the Arkansas River. They will also be allowed to enter at two existing sites with parking, campgrounds and boat ramps.

Existing use of the area including river running, hunting and angling, grazing and 

Credit Senator Mark Udall / YouTube
A screen capture of Colorado Senator Mark Udall along the Arkansas River.

motorized access on all designated roads will not be affected by the proposed designation. "I have spent more than a year listening to stakeholders, and this balanced proposal will preserve this remarkable landscape while also drawing visitors who will boost the economy of this treasured part of Colorado,” Udall says.

As part of the larger Browns Canyon National Monument, areas currently part of a wilderness study area would be designated Wilderness. That adds protections for wildlife, clean air and clean water within the area’s boundaries.

The senator says his proposal is emblematic of how public land bills should be done, "from the bottom up” with collaboration with local residents and stakeholders.  

Public meetings will be held on the proposal on April 13th from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting Company in Nathrop. Another meeting will take place on May 18th at a location yet to be determined along the Front Range.

Stakeholders can download a copy of the draft bill and map and submit comments. They also can contact Udall's office at 303-650-7820 to set up a meeting with staff.

Udall plans to introduce his proposal for the National Monument and Wilderness area to the U.S. Senate sometime in June.

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