Comment on Browns Canyon Draft Resource Management Plan

Browns Canyon National Monument, photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management
Browns Canyon National Monument, photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management (CC BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/15925882161)

Browns Canyon of the Arkansas River is the central feature in a unique ecosystem that provides outstanding fish and wildlife habitat, stunning mountain views and four-season recreation opportunities. The Browns Canyon National Monument was established by presidential proclamation under the Antiquites Act on February 19, 2015. The monument covers 21,604 acres of scenic and diverse natural resources along the upper Arkansas River of Colorado and encompasses Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (FS), and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) lands. It is located between the communities of Buena Vista and Salida in Central Colorado.

The BLM, FS, and CPW are developing an interagency cooperative plan, to manage, into the future, the many resources the monument has to offer. They released a draft version of the plan on October 4. We have until January 2, 2020 to comment on the plan and tell BLM to protect the diversity of wildlife and wild lands in this amazing area.

More information:

The draft plan document can be found on the Browns Canyon National Monument RMP ePlanning page.

Friends of Browns Canyon is a non-profit formed by a group of passionate outdoors recreationists who came together to advocate for permanent protection for Browns Canyon. They have many resources that may be helpful.

Here is the Sustainable Alternative proposed for the Browns Canyon National Monument by Friends of Browns Canyon (PDF).

Friends of Browns Canyon has a great map of the area to help you visualize. Otherwise, there is also a detailed map from the BLM.

Public Meetings:

There are public meetings coming up at the end of October to discuss the draft plan and provide an opportunity for the public to meet with staff resource specialists. Here are the meetings as listed currently. Please check the website in the case of schedule changes or updated information:

  • Golden: Marriot Denver West on October 30, 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Salida: SteamPlant Event Center on November 18 (Rescheduled from October 28 due to weather), 5:30-7:30 pm
  • Buena Vista: Buena Vista Community Center on November 19 (Rescheduled from October 29 due to weather), 5:30-7:30 pm

How to Comment:

You can submit your comments online on the BLM Comment Form. We suggest writing your comments in a Word Document or comparable program and copy/pasting when you’re ready as the system does time out.

We have a resource to help you write comments that are more readily accepted and considered: Rocky Mountain Wild’s Guide to Writing Comments that Stick.

Talking Points (Courtesy of The Wilderness Society):

Please remember that it is important to submit your comments in your own voice and not copy/paste the talking points below. When comments have copy/pasted talking points, they often get counted as one comment, no matter how many people submit them. Be sure to individualize your comments by editing these talking points in your own words.

  • The Trump administration continually messages around the need for local management and listening to voices on the ground, but this is an example of vast public support with minimal controversy in the community, yet our efforts and public participation is being overlooked by national priorities.
  • The Browns Canyon Sustainable Alternative was developed through a collaborative process and received support from over 100 local businesses and organizations, including the City of Salida, Town of Buena Vista, and Chaffee County Commissioners. We would like to see the recommendations from the Sustainable Alternative more thoroughly incorporated into the proposed management for Browns Canyon National Monument.
  • For example…
    • We are disappointed to see lands identified as having wilderness characteristics near Railroad Gulch and Ruby Mountain not being managed for those characteristics.
    • We wish for the agencies to continue to manage the Browns Canyon Area of Critical and Environmental Concern for its relevant and important values.
    • Protection of wildlife must be prioritized. There should be no new trail development allowed in big game winter habitat and seasonal closures to motorized use should remain in place.
    • Electric bikes should not automatically be managed the same as traditional bicycles. Additional analysis is needed before the agency opens up mechanized trails for use of electric bikes.
  • The agencies should take this opportunity to develop clear adaptive management approaches to respond to increased visitation and use within the monument. The Sustainable Alternative proposed several reasonable tactics that we suggest the agency adopt, including triggers to identify impacts and solutions to mitigate as a response.

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