The Arkansas River National Monument
Senator Mark Udall Pushes For Browns Canyon Protection
Democratic Senator Mark Udall is pushing for protection over Brown Canyon. His intentions are to create a national monument coined the Arkansas River National Monument. This would cover over 20,000 acres of BLM and National Forest lands and designate them as wilderness.
Recently, President Obama made Chimney Rock a monument after efforts by Scott Tipton and Michael Bennter failed first. Though, this was the presidents latest attempt to try and help create more wilderness areas throughout the U.S. Over recent years, proposed wilderness designated areas have slowed down due to congress and self-interset groups, such as the National Rifle Association, stalling any efforts. As a result, in the current political climate, the only way for certain areas to receive wilderness level protection is through presidential designations. This obviously limits the number of areas that are not only focused on, but actually accepted.
The Arkansas River National Monument is being proposed because rafting the Arkansas River has become one of the most enjoyed river activity in the world. Thus the number of people that flood to the the area to view the river, as well as the surrounding landscape, has swelled dramatically over recent years.
A terrifying statistic for nature lovers and preservers alike is that the current Congress is on path to be the first Congress since 1966 to not protect a single acre of wilderness. The argument is that it is believed there have already been enough designated wilderness areas already. But there is one specific issue with prior areas deemed wilderness spots, and that is those spots are scenic and iconic areas, where the beauty of the landscape is awe inspiring. Enough that even those that hate the outdoors cannot help but marvel and wonder at the scenes these areas have. This leaves less beautiful areas forgotten, and unless there is some snow capped mountain, or flowing waterfall, people do not deem them “wilderness”.
It’s a hard thought to consider how someone can view anything outside of a city or town not to be wilderness. As though everything but these areas are “tamed” or less wild. If you live in Colorado, there are more wilderness areas than developed, and by a large margin. However, the law happens to state otherwise. But for any area to be deemed “wilderness”, there are special considerations that come into play on behalf of law makers.
So hopefully these same law makers will see that the Browns Canyon is indeed a special area, and one that is deserved to have a monument commemorate it. It will also help Colorado River Rafting down the Arkansas River become more popular since rafting companies can now say you will pass through “wilderness” areas. There is no doubt that Rafting in Colorado would not be what it is without the Arkansas River.
Making the area a wilderness will also do a lot to help protect the Colorado Arkansas River. Water is and will always be a major topic in Colorado, as there are those that need it for pleasure and others that need it for necessity. Meanwhile, there are countless people outside of the state that rely on the water the flows here. There are also those that would like to develop in some areas, while others would like to mine. Either way, highlighting one area of Colorado at least helps to keep a watchful gaze on our state, both from the media as well as the citizens themselves. So it’s unknown what the future will hold, but we can only hope that it will be the designation of more wilderness areas throughout our country. As it is the wild that keeps America what it is, and I think that’s how people like it.
If you are interested in a Colorado River Rafting Trip, or a Family Rafting trip in Colorado, you should be sure to contact Wilderness Aware Rafting, where our experienced guides can plan out the perfect get away or adventure for you. There are single day trips as well as Multi Day Rafting Trips. So depending on how deep you would like to get into the wilderness, there is no doubt we can help you in that endeavor.
Update: The proposed area mentioned above is now known, as of 2015, as Browns Canyon National Monument.