The Reef

Hikers take in the views from the summit of The Reef in Browns Canyon National Monument – about a 90-minute hike out – in this 2017 photo.

CAÑON CITY– The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service announced an amended management plan for the Browns Canyon National Monument Monday. The approved plan will guide the agencies’ oversight of recreation activities within the monument, while allowing for infrastructure that will help protect monument resources in anticipation of increased visitation and recreational use.

“The BLM has expanded access and recreational opportunities throughout the West," a BLM press release states. "This plan reflects extensive work with our federal and state partners, local communities, other stakeholders, and the public to develop this plan, which balances outdoor recreation opportunities and plans for the future of the monument and the anticipated increase in visitors that will come to experience this amazing place,” said BLM deputy director for Policy and Programs William Perry Pendley.

The BLM’s Royal Gorge Field Office manages 9,790 acres and the USFS Pike-San Isabel National Forests and Comanche-Cimarron National Grasslands (PSICC) manages 11,810 acres of the 21,600-acre monument. This plan revises a portion of the 1996 BLM Royal Gorge Resource Management Plan and amends the 1984 USFS PSICC Forest Plan.

“The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service greatly appreciate all those who contributed to the Browns Canyon planning efforts, particularly members of the public, cooperating agencies, and state and local governments,” said BLM Royal Gorge field manager Keith Berger. “Extensive public interest and involvement in the planning process has helped ensure that the plan will sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the monument for present and future generations to use and enjoy.”

The RMP furthers a number of initiatives, including those found under Secretary’s Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation, and Secretary’s Order 3356, Hunting, Fishing, Recreation Shooting and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with States, Tribes and Territories.

The Records of Decision adopt the agencies’ preferred alternative from the Proposed Resource Management Plan released in April as the RMP for the monument.

This alternative is comprised of elements of the three draft alternatives and significantly incorporates cooperating agency input from the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, Chaffee County, the city of Salida, the town of Buena Vista, the public and stakeholders – including incorporation of management actions from a citizens alternative and endorsed by cooperating agencies, businesses, and other organizations.

The RMP furthers a number of initiatives, including those found under Secretary’s Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation, and Secretary’s Order 3356, Hunting, Fishing, Recreation Shooting and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with States, Tribes and Territories.

Browns Canyon National Monument’s river corridor lies within the broader Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. The Browns Canyon segment accounts for between 40-45 percent of the overall commercial river use in the AHRA and contributed approximately $30 million to Colorado’s economy in 2018.

The Records of Decision, the RMP, and associated documents are available online at https://go.usa.gov/xn2eC.

BLM, Forest Service issue decisions for Browns Canyon National Monument Resource Management Plan

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