On February 19, 2015, President Obama designated approximately 21,500 acres of rugged cliffs, colorful rock outrcoppings and stunning mountain vistas in Chaffee County near the town of Salida, Colorado, as Browns Canyon National Monument. Now part of our nation’s National Conservation Lands–more than 30 million acres of our nation’s most ecologically and culturally significant public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)–the national monument will protect wildlife habitat and attract new generations of visitors to enjoy the hunting, fishing and whitewater rafting that define Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle. The rugged granite cliffs and wilderness-quality backcountry provide critical wildlife habitat for a variety of wildlife including golden eagles and peregrine falcons, bighorn sheep, mountain lion and elk.
The stretch of the Arkansas River that runs through Browns Canyon is an outstanding wild trout fishery as well as one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the country. Commercial rafting on the Arkansas River which runs through Browns Canyon brings in $60 million to the local economy. The permanent protection of this area will support the economic vitality of the region, supporting local businesses, river outfitters and surrounding communities. The national monument designation will protect the outstanding opportunities to recreate, including hiking, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and rock climbing, as well as to experience the solitude and undeveloped beauty of this rugged landscape.