Browns Canyon in Chaffee County will be designated a National Monument by President Obama on Thursday.
Conservationists, community leaders and businesses are praising the move, which comes after years of work to secure the designation. It covers a 22,000-acre stretch of public land along the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida known for recreational opportunities.
Keith Baker heads the non-profit group Friends of Browns Canyon.
A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida has reopened to boaters. It closed at the beginning of June due high waters that caused a hazard at a recently constructed boat chute. The portage trail used to bypass the chute had also become impassable.
A two-mile stretch of the Arkansas River near Salida continues to remain restricted due to dangerous conditions. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
Recent high waters and a new diversion structure in the river have raised safety concerns near Silver Bullet Boat Chute near Johnson Village. The diversion structure is creating unusually strong currents, and the reentry point on the portage trail that’s used to allow boaters to go around the chute is currently impassable due to high water levels. The area is restricted to only whitewater kayaks and canoes.
Senator Mark Udall is expected in Chaffee County today to unveil new proposed legislation that looks to declare Browns Canyon a national monument and wilderness area. KRCC’s Maggie Spencer has more.
The Arkansas River runs through Browns Canyon, and if passed, the bill would declare 22,000 acres of land from Nathrop to Salida a national monument and an additional 10,500 acres as protected wilderness.