Sportsmen and women showed up by the dozen Saturday at a standing-room-only event at Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting Co. to voice support for Senator Udall’s proposed legislation to create the Browns Canyon National Monument. The monument would cover 22,000 acres between Salida and Buena Vista in Chaffee County and includes 10,500 acres of new wilderness. The proposal seeks to protect one of southern Colorado’s most coveted wild trout fisheries and surrounding outstanding backcountry hunting areas. The proposal is based on a year of public input that Udall and his staff have collected since the spring of 2012, but the effort to protect Brown’s Canyon has been around for many years.
Many of TU’s Collegiate Peaks Chapter members, including chapter President, Dan Clegg and members Reed Dils and Bill Dvorak praised Senator Udall’s plan, noting that the area’s backcountry angling, hunting and recreational values are simply too precious to remain unguarded by a lack of federal legislative protection. Local voices from other sportsmen’s organizations, including the Colorado Wildlife Federation, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and even a life member of the NRA (Dave Moore) also praised the proposal.
At the meeting, Congressman Lamborn appeared open to the proposal, stating that as long as the designation reflected his “multiple use” approach to public lands usage, he was willing to entertain the idea of the legislative protection.
While a majority of users are in favor of the protection, there are still some that feel a monument is not necessarily the right tool. The majority of those opposed to the designation came from the local recreational off highway vehicle community. Ironically, the recently designated, adjacent Fourmile Travel Management area on the northern boundary of Brown’s Canyon covers 102,000-acres and offers OHVers 195 miles of trails. In addition to Fourmile, much FR 184 (Turret Trail) will remain open to motorized use. Many of the hunters and anglers that spoke in favor of the designation also owned ATVs and UTVs and felt that the area provided more than enough motorized access to satisfy even the most fervent OHV enthusiast.
Senator Udall and Congressman Lamborn will be holding a second town hall-style meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 18th in Golden (meeting specifics have yet to be announced by Senator Udall’s staff). It is imperative that sportsmen and women show up to this event and voice their support!
For more details, contact Reed Dils (719) 395-8949, Bill Dvorak (719) 221-3212, or Garrett VeneKlasen (505) 670-2925.