Press Release – President Obama’s Browns Canyon National Monument designation applauded
President’s action will expand National Conservation Lands
Durango, CO (February 18, 2015) – The Conservation Lands Foundation praised the announcement that President Obama would use his authority to permanently protect Browns Canyon in Colorado, along with the Honouliuli Internment Camp in Hawaii and Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood as national monuments. These national monuments will permanently protect a diversity of lands and waters that honor our country’s history and conserve open space important for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation for future generations.
“Today’s action builds on steps the Administration has taken over the last six years to expand access to our public lands for outdoor recreation by permanently protecting areas significant to our nation’s rich history and America’s outdoor heritage,” said Ryan Bidwell, Campaign Director with the Conservation Lands Foundation. “There are places among America’s public lands that represent vital parts of our country’s history, and places that provide opportunities for our kids and grandkids to explore and experience the outdoors.”
Browns Canyon, located two hours from Denver, Colorado will become part of our nation’s National Conservation Lands. The national monument will protect wildlife habitat and attract new generations of visitors to enjoy the hunting, fishing and whitewater rafting that define Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle. The rugged granite cliffs and backcountry provide high quality wildlife habitat for a variety of birds and animals including golden eagles, bighorn sheep and elk.
The stretch of the Arkansas River that runs through Browns Canyon is an outstanding wild trout fishery as well as one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the country. Commercial rafting on the Arkansas River which runs through Browns Canyon brings in $60 million to the local economy. The permanent protection of this area will support the economic vitality of the region, supporting local businesses, river outfitters and surrounding communities.
For more than 10 years, efforts to protect Browns Canyon have been championed by members of both political parties. The designation is based on recent legislation developed as result of extensive community involvement, including public meetings and thousands of public comments.
Honouliuli and Pullman both represent distinct and important aspects of our country’s history. The Honouliuli Internment Camp, located on the island of O‘ahu was Hawaiʻi’s largest and longest operating World War II prison camp. Nearly 4,000 individuals were incarcerated there solely on the basis of ancestry or country of origin.
Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood is closely linked to the history of the American labor movement. Pullman was the site of one of the bloodiest labor battles in American history – the Pullman Strike of 1894 –in which many workers were wounded or lost their lives at the hands of federal and state troops. Shortly after the deadly strike, Congress passed legislation creating a national Labor Day holiday.
With each of these designations, there was strong recognition among elected officials, local business, veterans, sportsmen, youth groups and Hispanic, African American and Japanese American leaders that some places are so important to our shared culture and heritage that they deserve to be protected for all time.
“These monument designations are a profound way to recognize our diverse national mosaic by honoring our American heritage and broadening public appeal to our public lands to an increasingly diverse American public,” stated said Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “We look forward to President Obama’s continued leadership in protecting our nation’s most significant natural treasures, and protecting the laws that have allowed sixteen Presidents—eight from each party—to enact these important protections when Congress is unable to do so.”