Friends of Browns Canyon

Volunteers from Friends of Browns Canyon gathered for trails work to celebrate National Public Lands Day Sept. 26.

Friends of Browns Canyon executive director Keith Baker said the one year anniversary celebration for the dedication of Browns Canyon National Monument was a big success.

The event took place at the Lariat Bar & Grill July 18 and was hosted collaboratively by Friends of Browns Canyon, the Wilderness Society, Conservation Lands Foundation and Conservation Colorado.

While land management agency representatives were scheduled to give an update on the community resource plan that night, Baker said those organizations were not able to be in attendance because of the Hayden Pass Fire after it was declared the nation’s top fire priority earlier in the week.

The purpose of the event was both a celebration and a fundraiser, with proceeds going towards materials for trail work, trail crew refreshments and a modest stipend going to the executive director, Baker said.

“People were very generous in regards to donations, both monetarily and through purchasing raffle tickets,” Baker said.

Buena Vista mayor Joel Benson was also in attendance and said watching the Browns Canyon National Monument process play out was one of the most rewarding experiences in his time as mayor.

“I was fortunate to be in a local government position and to watch this unfold on the local, state and national level,” Benson said.

As a local business owner, Benson also said he’s seen firsthand the kind of economic impact Browns Canyon has on the area.

“When we set up the cafe, people would come in and I would ask what they’re doing in town and many would say they were here to visit Browns Canyon,” Benson said. “That speaks to some of the economic draw (of Browns Canyon).

FOBC board president Bev Kaiser said the event would not have been possible without Baker’s hard work and dedication to planning much of the night.

“Keith did a really good job for the event,” Kaiser said.

Going forward, Kaiser said the FOBC’s goal is to proceed as a membership organization and to work on the resource management plan with all of the stakeholders.

Baker also said he had attended a meeting in early July with representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Friends of Fourmile and FOBC.

Baker said project director for the resource management plan is BLM’s Joe Vieira. The next step is for Vieira to develop a timetable and budget for the project which will be submitted by Sept. 30.

“He’ll keep the plan on track and the process on track,” Baker said about the project director’s responsibilities.

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