Browns Canyon National Monument

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Browns Canyon National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument (15925887401).jpg
Rock outcroppings in Browns Canyon
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Location Chaffee County, Colorado, USA
Nearest city Salida, Colorado
Coordinates 38°36′43″N106°03′36″W / 38.61194°N 106.06°W / 38.61194; -106.06 Coordinates: 38°36′43″N106°03′36″W / 38.61194°N 106.06°W / 38.61194; -106.06
Area21,586 acres (8,736 ha)
AuthorizedFebruary 19, 2015
Governing body Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service
Website Browns Canyon National Monument

Browns Canyon National Monument is a 21,586 acres (87 km2) national monument in Chaffee County, Colorado that was designated as such by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act on February 19, 2015. [1] [2] [3] [4] The site will be centered along the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida. [5] [6] Browns Canyon is the most popular destination for whitewater rafting in the country, and is also known for its fishing and hiking. [5] The monument will provide habitat protection for bighorn sheep, peregrine falcons, elk, and golden eagles. [5]


Designation of the monument was requested by numerous Colorado lawmakers, including Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Representative Joel Hefley [3] and Governor John Hickenlooper. [6] It was opposed by Representatives Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, who objected to the president's use of executive action in declaring the monument. [6] Lamborn also objected to the effect that the monument's creation would have on grazing, mineral and water rights; [7] in response the White House stated that the designation would honor "valid and existing rights, but withdraws the area from future mineral leasing." [8]

The monument will be run jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and United States Forest Service. [6]


The Bureau of Land Management initially designated the region around Browns Canyon as a wilderness study area after it had been named as a potential site for consideration as such in 1979. [9] The Colorado Wilderness Act of 1991, introduced by Representatives Wayne Allard and Dan Schaefer, would have named hundreds of thousands of acres in the state as wilderness, including the Browns Canyon area, but the bill never passed beyond the committee stage. [9] In 2005, Joel Hefley and six other Colorado lawmakers introduced the Browns Canyon Wilderness Act; [10] a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Wayne Allard. [11] The legislation failed due to the influence of the National Rifle Association, which claimed that a wilderness designation would limit hunting in Browns Canyon. [9] An attempt to reintroduce the Act by Senator Ken Salazar once again failed to clear its committee. [9] [12] Mark Udall and Michael Bennet attempted to introduce legislation designating the canyon as a national monument in 2013, [13] but it, too, failed. [3] [9] Udall's bill also contained over 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of wilderness protections, [13] which are not included in the proclamation, as such protections may only be enacted by Congress. [8] The monument as designated otherwise substantially follows the acreage designated in the bill. [8]

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  1. Sheppard, Kate (19 February 2015). "Obama Will Designate 3 New National Monuments". Huffington Post . Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  2. "FACT SHEET: Launching the Every Kid in a Park Initiative and Designating New National Monuments". . 19 February 2015. Retrieved 19 February 2015 via National Archives.
  3. 1 2 3 "Finally, national monument status for Browns Canyon". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  4. Greiner, Joe. "Browns Canyon National Monument Ceremony". Wilderness Aware Rafting. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 "New Browns Canyon National Monument to protect southern Colorado's recreation paradise". Archived from the original on 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Obama to declare Browns Canyon in Colorado a national monument". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  7. "Colorado Republicans blast Obama's latest national monument as land grab – Washington Times". The Washington Times. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  8. 1 2 3 "Obama Browns Canyon border 'very similar' to Udall's". The Chaffee County Times. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 "The tangled legislative history of Browns Canyon". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  10. "H.R.4235 – 109th Congress (2005–2006): Browns Canyon Wilderness Act – – Library of Congress". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  11. "S.1971 – 109th Congress (2005–2006): Browns Canyon Wilderness Act – – Library of Congress". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  12. "S.3066 – 110th Congress (2007–2008): Browns Canyon Wilderness Act – – Library of Congress". Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  13. 1 2 "S.1794 – 113th Congress (2013–2014): Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013 – – Library of Congress". Retrieved 20 February 2015.