Press Release-Local Support for Lands Conservation
Local Citizens, Sportsmen, Business Owners Support Administration’s Agenda for Lands Conservation
Call on Congress to Advance Protections for Worthy Lands
Durango, CO (November 10, 2011) – Local leaders praised a report released today by the U.S. Department of the Interior that outlined an agenda for near-term Wilderness and Conservation Land designations. The report, recommends 18 backcountry areas deserving congressional protections including Browns Canyon in Colorado, Gold Butte in Nevada, Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico, and the San Juan Islands in Washington.
Browns Canyon includes some of the most picturesque vistas in Colorado, with granite canyons stretching along the Arkansas River and merging into mixed forests and meadows.
Keith Baker, owner of The Trailhead (an outdoor clothing and equipment store) in Buena Vista, Colorado commented, ”Like many businesses in our county, we depend on the thousands of tourists who visit this area to take advantage of local recreational opportunities. Protecting Browns Canyon would preserve opportunities for those who raft, fish and hike in this area and help preserve our local economy.”
“The effort to protect Brown’s Canyon has had such tremendous local support because it is such a special area. It is rare to find a river canyon with such spectacular geology, fishing, and vistas that is accessible to so many visitors,” commented Michael Kunkel, owner of Lifestream Water Systems in Salida, Colorado. “As excited as I am that Brown’s Canyon has been recognized as a Crown Jewel, I’ll be even happier when Browns finally gets the protection it deserves.”
Gold Butte, Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon, provides outstanding recreational opportunities for hunting and hiking and contains important Native American and Pioneer history.
“We made the deliberate choice to buy home in Mesquite in order to be close to natural resources for hiking, exploring, and photography. Gold Butte wonderfully fulfills all of those requirements and so much more. We are out exploring at least weekly and feel lucky to have access to this beautiful place,” said Terri Rylander who works as a technology industry consultant.
El Rio Grande del Norte
The El Rio Grande del Norte encompasses some of the most spectacular lands in all of New Mexico. The Rio Grande cuts into the Servilleta lava flows that make up the Taos Plateau just above the Colorado border.
“This is a place that hunters have cherished for centuries. Protecting it honors our heritage and also helps boost a sustainable local economy built on high-quality outdoor opportunity and traditions,” commented Taos, New Mexico resident and avid hunter, Garrett VeneKlasen.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands in the San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, include nearly 1,000 acres of small islands and reefs that provide breeding grounds for birds and safe refuges for everything from harbor seal pups to rare plants. The islands also provide opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, boating, sea kayaking and camping for residents and visitors. Community leaders have been seeking protections for the San Juan Islands for years.
“We appreciate the Bureau of Land Management and Department of Interior’s recognition of the importance of protecting the proposed San Juan Islands National Conservation Area. We want to ensure that these lands receive the high degree of protection and stewardship they deserve. The National Conservation Area designation is a way to achieve this which honors the community’s desire to have direct input into the management of these lands. Our island environment is a unique complement to BLM’s special landscapes, said Lopez Island resident and member of Islanders for San Juan Islands NCA member, Sally Reeve.”