Washington, DC - The White House announced today that President Obama will designate Colorado's Browns Canyon as a national monument. The president will use his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make the designation.
"Browns Canyon contains a rugged and unique beauty that attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to hike, camp, climb, and raft - all of which help generate millions of dollars for local economies. We're grateful to Senator Udall for recognizing this and for his efforts in the Senate to achieve this designation," Senator Bennet said. "Designating this area as a national monument has enjoyed a long history of bipartisan support, including from Senator Allard, Congressman Hefley, the entire Colorado delegation from the 109th Congress, and most recently by Senator Udall. Coloradans have been very clear they wanted this protection, along with assurances that existing uses will be protected. We're glad the Administration heard those voices and provided those assurances."
"The creation of the Browns Canyon National Monument is a landmark victory for the thousands of Coloradans who have stood up and asked their leaders for years to protect this special place," U.S. Senator Mark Udall said. "I was proud to champion this decades-long, bipartisan effort alongside leaders like Congressman Joel Hefley and the people of Chaffee County. Thanks to the president's action, which mirrors my community-driven legislation, future generations of anglers, rafters, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this special place along the Arkansas River as we do today."
"The people of Chaffee County have been working together for many years to protect this scenic landscape and the important river corridor that runs through Browns Canyon," said Congressman Joel Hefley. "This new national monument will mean a lot to Chaffee County and also for future generations as they enjoy this special place. I am thrilled that after all these years it is finally happening."
In November, Bennet wrote a letter to the President with Senator Udall, asking the Administration to gauge support in Colorado for designating Browns Canyon as a national monument under the Antiquities Act, by hosting a public meeting in Chaffee County.
In December, after that meeting took place, Bennet penned a letter with Governor John Hickenlooper asking the Administration to designate Browns Canyon as a national monument, contingent upon protections for existing grazing rights, access, water rights, and other uses.
Last year, Bennet cosponsored a bill introduced by Senator Mark Udall to designate Browns Canyon as a national monument and to protect the region as an invaluable economic and natural resource for Chaffee County and the state. The bill would have designated 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River as a national monument, preserving the pristine wilderness area and ensuring recreational access for years to come.
Throughout his time in the Senate, Bennet has been a leader in preserving Colorado's open spaces. He fought to secure the designation of Chimney Rock as a national monument in 2012 and led efforts to preserve the Hermosa Creek Watershed in southwest Colorado. He has also introduced legislation to protect the Thompson Divide area on the western slope.
# # #