This week, President Obama will announce the designation of three new national monuments, the Denver Post reported this morning. The biggest victory for outdoor recreation enthusiasts is the designation of about 21,000 acres of public land around Browns Canyon in Colorado. “We are delighted with the designation of Browns Canyon, and grateful that the administration thoughtfully incorporated local perspectives and sensibilities as to the best way to protect it. It’s a place that’s meaningful to many people, and it’s an exciting gateway to our public lands and the experiences they offer." said Adam Cramer, Executive Director of Outdoor Alliance.
Colorado Browns Canyon is the most popular whitewater rafting destination in the country, with year-round recreation opportunities on the river, trails, and crags surrounding the canyon. This landscape has significant value to the Colorado economy. The Colorado River Outfitters Association estimates that commercial rafting generates $60 million a year. The canyon also provides a spectacular close-to-home escape for many Colorado residents.
Through its regional network in Colorado and member groups, including American Whitewater, Outdoor Alliance has worked with local stakeholders and policymakers to secure the designation of Browns Canyon. The president has used his authority under the U.S. Antiquities Act to protect Browns Canyon and two other national monuments, in Illinois and in Hawaii. A national monument designation was the result of more than a decade of work on the part of the recreation and conservation community. Protection of Browns Canyon has widespread support in Colorado. It is the result of bipartisan efforts to accommodate recreational access, preserve important landscapes, and sustain economic benefits for the state of Colorado. The proclamation enjoyed broad support from both Democrats and Republicans. The designation was refined extensively over the years, and honors legislation proposed by former Senator Mark Udall.