While most sportsmen and women in Colorado have fished, hunted, hiked, or floated in and around Browns Canyon along the Arkansas River, few know that federal legislation to protect it has been in process for over 20 years. Recently, Trout Unlimited launched a new push to protect this beautiful, habitat-rich canyon, and rally sportsmen and women to designate Browns, once and for all, a National Monument. Why a monument? Being designated a monument would protect—for all time—the 22,000-acre backcountry area with its current mixed uses for all sportsmen and women. Browns Canyon would remain just as wild and pristine as it is today, so that future generations of anglers and hunters can enjoy this magnificent “last best place.”
Besides preserving vital fish and wildlife habitat, the monument designation would also be an economic boon for the Arkansas River valley and the state, which depend on tourism and recreation dollars.
Browns Canyon, located between Buena Vista and Salida, has for generations been one of the most floated rivers in the state. . Add a recently designated gold medal fishery and exceptional backcountry hunting grounds, and you can see why Coloradans want to protect it forever. Recent and future mining and other development interests in the area could change all of that if we don’t protect it now.
The immediate need is for sportsmen and women to speak up and tell our leaders that Browns Canyon is a special place—and let’s keep it the way it is.