Senator Michael Bennet Joins Senator Mark Udall’s Effort to Preserve Browns Canyon
February 28, 2014 – Citing the area’s importance to the local economy, Senator Michael Bennet became a cosponsor of S.1794, The Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013, to protect Browns Canyon region as an invaluable economic and natural resource for Chaffee County and the state. The bill, originally introduced by Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall in December, will designate 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River as a national monument, adding the area to the National Conservation Lands.
Senator Udall and Bennet’s leadership on Browns Canyon reflects the strong local support and the well-recognized value of Browns Canyon to the local economy. The Arkansas River is particularly popular for whitewater rafters, representing almost 40 percent of all rafting in Colorado. According to a recent study by the Colorado River Outfitters Association, commercial rafting brought in roughly $141 million for the state in 2013, $55 million alone coming from rafting on the Arkansas River.
“The rugged and unique beauty of Browns Canyon attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world who come to hike, camp, climb, and raft. This generates millions of dollars of revenue for our local economies,” Bennet said. “Designating Browns Canyon as a national monument will not only allow future generations to enjoy the whitewater rapids in the heart of the Rockies, but it will also ensure that the area remains an economic driver and job creator for the region.
The Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013 contains several additional provisions, including designating 10,500 acres of new Wilderness land within the national monument, preserving existing public access to the monument area, and protecting existing uses such as fishing, hunting, grazing, and motorized use.
CLF and the Friends of Browns Canyon congratulate Senator Udall and Senator Bennet for their ongoing efforts to protect and expand Colorado’s National Conservation Lands.