Senator Udall’s Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness proposal strikes the right balance for conservation, recreation and economic growth
The Wilderness Society today joined local business owners in praising Colorado Senator Mark Udall for releasing a detailed legislative proposal to establish Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Area. The latest step in a year-long public engagement process, Senator Udall’s proposal reflects the feedback from dozens of stakeholders including business owners, sportsmen, elected officials, recreation groups and more.
“My business livelihood and quality of life both depend on the protection of Browns Canyon,” said Christian Campton, owner of KODI Rafting. “I personally appreciate Senator Udall’s efforts to ensure the national monument will continue to allow rafting, fishing, hunting and other economic drivers while helping us attract new visitors to experience what makes this area so unique.”
Senator Udall’s proposal for a Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness will protect approximately 22,000 acres along the iconic Arkansas River between Salida and Buena Vista. Browns Canyon is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the nation. The regional whitewater rafting, kayaking and all other whitewater sports industry accounted for over $20 million in direct expenditures for a total economic impact of over $52 million in the Arkansas Valley in 2012 .
Protecting Browns Canyon as a National Monument is crucial to the economic health of river outfitters, local businesses and the surrounding communities. The recreational experiences in Browns Canyon are only rivaled by the incredible scenery that consists of granite canyons and a mix of meadows and forests.
“Browns Canyon is a national treasure which deserves permanent protection to ensure the outdoor legacy, recreational opportunities and the local economic growth continue for the future,” said Ryan Bidwell of The Wilderness Society. “We applaud Senator Udall for responding to public comments and crafting a balanced proposal that will allow economically important recreation to continue, while ensuring the area is protected for future generations.”
For more than 10 years, local community members have been advocating for protecting this economic engine and are pleased to see Senator Udall moving the process forward. The Wilderness Society applauds Senator Udall’s ongoing commitment to public engagement in developing this proposal.