Browns Canyon NM camping management - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-06-2019   #1
 
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Browns Canyon NM camping management

Public land managers released the "Preliminary Alternatives and Basis for Analysis" for Browns Canyon National Monument on April 1st, 2019. This document "describes the formulation of preliminary alternatives and the analytical methodologies that will be used to analyze issues."

In other words the BLM and USFS will use public input and reaction to this document to create the final management plan. The report breaks the planning process down to separate topics, the most important of which to this user group will probably be "Wildlife and Fish", "Recreation" and "Travel and Transportation Management". Within each category the alternative options are separated into A - the "no action alternative", B - "focuses on resource protection" and C - "focuses on river and upland recreation".

The group of concerned stakeholders that Friends of Browns Canyon is working with believes the correct approach to managing Browns Canyon will require a combination of all 3 of these alternatives. Currently we are working to put together a "citizen's alternative" to present to the land managers to hopefully be included in the public scoping process. The tentative timeline is sometime in about a month the BLM will file their "Federal Register of Intent", which then gives them exactly one month to complete the scoping process.

Please review the document below and let me know any questions or suggestions you have. Wildlife and Fish begins on page 29 and Travel Management concludes on page 46. This document will not address river travel or river capacities as that is still and will remain the jurisdiction of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, but the idea of designating campsites and initiating some kind of first-come, first-served self register for overnight trips is being discussed. As well as the topics of trail expansion, signage and interpretive sites, additional trailheads and access points, seasonal closures, climbing, and backpacking.

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-...190321_508.pdf

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Old 04-12-2019   #2
 
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Bump....

I know the report is long and boring and nobody wants to read it, but can I at least get some feedback about campsites?

What are your feelings on overnight trips in Browns? Do you like the way things are currently set up? Would you like to see sites designated and additional sites created? Does the idea of not knowing if you will get a site bother you? Would you like to see a self register so you know how many groups that are ahead of you are camping and where they plan to stop? Also, there is talk about designating sites for river users and sites for backpackers so you don't get one or two people packing in and taking a large group site.....

Thanks
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Old 04-12-2019   #3
 
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A lot of material, agreed...see "Recreation" Section 2.3.9 and 2.3.10 (page 33 and onward) for some specifics that affect river runners and campers.
Designated sites, self registration and other protections are probably inevitable as the population of Colorado increases. The abundance of info and ease of access are alerting folks of this not-so-hidden treasure. Protection of the water and land as well as responsible enjoyment of resources can be realized; similar to river folk self policing on the Colorado back in the late 70's, when the Grand Canyon reached unsustainable numbers of users, and after trip regulations put in place to keep beaches and water
clean.
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Old 04-12-2019   #4
 
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Yes. The BLM is confident that use will continue to increase and that eventually increased management of the camping scene will become necessary, but my question to you all is if you would prefer to see implementation of these ideas in the immediate future, or would you rather wait until the increased use is realized?
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Old 04-12-2019   #5
 
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Thanks for pinpointing the question. I would like to see implementation in place as soon as possible...been on Ark since the late 80's, have observed increased irresponsible use, overcrowding, land degradation, user conflicts
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Old 04-12-2019   #6
 
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That's interesting. Do you see these issues specifically in Browns Canyon? According to the AHRA's reports river use is down from the peak years of the mid 2000's and more on par with the late 90's currently. Also, CPW's studies indicate that impacts to the river corridor (vegetation destruction, fire pits, human waste and trash being left and erosion) have significantly decreased from the 90's due to education and increased enforcement of regulations....
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Old 04-12-2019   #7
 
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The numbers reflect a good trend toward responsible use. I must say I avoided Brown's Canyon, and established/primitive campsites quite a while back, as it was not a pleasant experience. Off season (is there one anymore?) was great.
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Old 04-12-2019   #8
 
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Honestly I think designated spots would be a good thing to minimize impact at least for groups larger than X (i.e. outfitters). And people who run out of spots can always just camp at Hecla. You're never gonna have a pre-registration system that works without being online as there are multiple access points. And if it is online it will cost something. So, given I don't think paying is the way to go, I also don't think we need a permit system (yet). The outfitters might disagree
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Old 04-12-2019   #9
 
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Thanks for pulling all this together Logan!

I like the current system (or lack thereof) for camping in Browns and have never been shut out in years other than not getting my favorite camp. I would like to see some riverside primitive sites established all the way to Canon City to allow multi-day trips without having to resort to commercial campgrounds.

My hope is that we can avoid permitting for as long as possible.

I'd like to see trailer access restored at Railroad Bridge with a concrete ramp, and also good trailer access at Pinnacle Rock instead of the row of rocks that prevents backing to the river.

Thanks again,

-Andy
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Old 04-12-2019   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilom View Post
Honestly I think designated spots would be a good thing to minimize impact at least for groups larger than X (i.e. outfitters). And people who run out of spots can always just camp at Hecla. You're never gonna have a pre-registration system that works without being online as there are multiple access points. And if it is online it will cost something. So, given I don't think paying is the way to go, I also don't think we need a permit system (yet). The outfitters might disagree
The self-register station would be located at the public land boundary just beyond the foot bridge at Chateau Chaparral in Nathrop. That is downstream of Chalk Creek and there is no additional access downstream of there. Several of the outfitters think this is a good idea, but the first thing that comes to mind for me is Ruby-Horsethief and the conflicts that arose from people not camping in the site they signed up for. A couple outfitters argue that you get a different crowd on Browns than R/HT, and point to the success this kind of program has had on the Gunnison Gorge....

Thanks for the feedback guys, keep it coming!
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