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Do you support permanently protecting Browns Canyon by turning it into a National Mon

  • Yes, absolutely I want it to stay the same for generations to come!

    Votes: 43 95.6%
  • I love Browns, but don't really understand why it needs to become a Monument to be protected...

    Votes: 2 4.4%
  • No. I oppose protection and feel it should be open to people to do as they will.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If at all possible, PLEASE come to the Salida Steamplant this Saturday at 12 noon. We will be showing a video and providing snacks and beverages before the rally starts. THIS IS THE LAST BIG PUSH, come show our President that permanently protecting our back yard play ground we like to call Browns Canyon is the RIGHT thing to do!

Thank You!

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Senate Seal
U.S. SENATOR MARK UDALL
Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, and Intelligence Committees
**MEDIA ADVISORY**

SATURDAY: Udall to Host Public Meeting for Coloradans to Discuss Future of Browns Canyon with Obama Administration Officials
SATURDAY, December 6, 2014, senior officials from the Obama Administration will join U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and senior state officials to hear from the public about what they want for the future of Browns Canyon and whether it merits designation as a national monument as the senators have proposed. Attendees will include U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director Steve Ellis. Members of the public are invited to attend and publically state their opinion. The public comment session's format will depend on the number of attendees.
The meeting follows a letter Udall and Bennet sent last week urging the president to visit Chaffee County and start a public and transparent process to explore how best to protect Browns Canyon for future generations. The letter cited the long history of bipartisan support for protecting Browns Canyon, including the Colorado congressional delegation's bipartisan work nearly a decade ago. Udall recently led a more than 18-month public outreach process to develop the most recent proposal to protect Browns Canyon as a national monument.
A broad coalition of community leaders, Colorado businesses, sportsmen and conservationists supports protecting Browns Canyon as a national monument based on Udall's community-based bill, S.1794, which preserves this remarkable landscape while continuing current access and use of the area.
This event will take place Saturday, December 6:
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. MT
Udall will host a public meeting for Coloradans to share their opinion on the future of Browns Canyon.
Where: The SteamPlant Theater, 220 W. Sackett Ave. in Salida
Please contact Mike Saccone at 202-224-4334.

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Please let me know if I can answer any questions regarding this, I'm getting rather well versed in the specifics...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
If you are unable to attend, but would still like to show support please copy and paste this form letter into an email (feel free to make any changes you want) and send them asap to Bill Dvorak at [email protected]

Thanks!

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Dear President Obama,

I am writing to express my support for designating Browns Canyon as a national monument. Browns Canyon is a national treasure with outstanding fish and wildlife habitat and four-season outdoor recreation opportunities enjoyed by visitors throughout the state and across the country. It deserves to be permanently protected to ensure the preservation of Colorado’s outdoor legacy for present and future generations.

For over a decade, local citizens and bipartisan lawmakers have worked tirelessly to protect this unique and untrammeled landscape. Although legislation has been introduced with the support of multiple diverse groups, including Chaffee County Commissioners, Arkansas River Outfitters Association, American Whitewater, Buffalo Peaks Backcountry Horsemen, Collegiate Peaks Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Colorado Wildlife Federation, roughly 150 local businesses, and 150 more from throughout the state, this area still remains one of the state’s most appreciated yet unprotected areas.

Protecting Browns Canyon is important to both the local and state economy. It’s our nation’s most popular whitewater rafting destination—bringing in more than $23 million a year to the Arkansas Valley economy, is part of the longest stretch of gold medal fishing waters in the state, and provides abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation such as climbing, hunting, hiking, fishing, kayaking, birding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding. Designating Browns Canyon will protect these important economic and cultural assets, along with critical winter range for the area’s deer, elk, and big horn sheep.

A Browns Canyon National Monument will protect wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, and opportunities that define Colorado’s outdoor legacy today and for future generations. Because of these reasons, I strongly support the designation of Browns Canyon as a National Monument by Congress or the President without further delay.


Sincerely,
 

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just a question... do we want browns canyon to be a national monument, would this mean permits for after work floats, $100 dollar park passes, more rangers spending your tax dollars, more "fixing" rapids? I have no idea what making Browns Canyon a national monument would do.... do you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This the way it goes:

If Udall's legislation doesn't pass (which it won't) there is a good chance Browns will be released from Wilderness Study status. Which will potentially open the area up to motorized use as well as mineral/energy extraction and commercial development (anybody remember the Nestle plant at Ruby pulling spring water to be trucked to Denver?)

Designating it a Monument would not change anything. FS will run the higher elevations, BLM the mid elevations and the AHRA the river corridor. No new structures, regulations or positions will be created to manage the new Monument. In fact there are 17 other Monuments throughout the country that are managed locally, not by the National Parks Service.

Bottom line, this is the last best chance to ensure Browns Canyon remains the same for generations to come.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Added a poll to get the general idea of how Buzz members feel, since many don't post much. Thank you for taking the time to read all of this, and hopefully vote/contribute.

Logan
 

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This is a huge deal people! Thanks for posting Logan. AW has been working on this for a long time and the threats to Browns are real. We need a big showing on Saturday - attendance and letters of support both. Here is the link to the AW article with all the details. This isn't political and if you care about Browns Canyon being protected this our best shot.

Obama Administration to meet with Coloradoans to discuss Browns Canyon

Thanks!

P.S. when you do show up consider having something prepared to say. We need a chorus of voices in support!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would say that most people are distrustful of the government and skeptical about designations in general, but once the details have been explained the vast majority agree and approve.

Update:

Friends of Browns Canyon (and specifically Susan Mayfield) has arranged for a party after the meeting with live music by Grant Farm and members of Elephant Revival! Hope to see lots of boaters there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Excellent turnout. Approximately 500 people in attendance. Thank you Evan for taking the time to come and speak briefly. I ended up with something like 15 lottery tickets and still didn't get called until after 3....

There were a lot of public servants in attendance including Senators Mark Udall, Michael Bennett and Gail Schwartz. Also present were the national director of the Forest Service, deputy director of the BLM and deputy director of the DNR along with a representative from congressman Doug Lamborn's office and MANY local representatives.

The public opinion was 95% in favor of designation.

In my personal opinion Senator Udall is a quality individual with integrity. I have the utmost respect for him as a person and think that this great state will suffer a huge loss when he is gone...

Thank you to all who attended. I think we are going to have a National Monument very soon!

 

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Well the event came off Saturday at the Steamplant in Salida.
The place was packed to the rafters with mostly Monument supporters. Four to five hundred total attendance I'd guess. Dignitaries including both senators and the head of the Forest Circus, BLM and Colorado DNR, said how much they liked being in Chaffee County and basically how embarrassed they were about Washington’s inability to do anything.
Public comments were quite lopsided in favor of urging the administration to enact the executive order with a few notable exceptions.
My friend Terry Peavler wants to be able to ride his ATV anywhere and is dismayed at the loss of unregulated area. He feels quite victimized. One of the water buffalos said he is afraid that if there is an executive order (as opposed to Congressional legislation) the water board will not be able to protect water rights against Federal demands. (The only question on this one is is the foundation of this argument medicinal or recreational?) The head of the ranchers group who enjoys grazing lease welfare stated that specific language in the proposal to the contrary notwithstanding, the land management agencies would somehow defraud lessees out of their perk if this monument came to pass.
Doug Lamborn sent a representative to read off a number of absolute falsehoods as the basis of opposition. (Nobody wants this, executive orders are illegal, the Monument will be underfunded so will look shabby etc. etc.) In the end, all the conservative Republican congressman has left is falsehoods as every concern that has been raised has been addressed. The representative was booed. There were a couple of other anti comments that amounted to the speaker asking “Really?” (Response: “yeah, really!”)
I had to leave before it was all over, but the pro side ran arguments included the usual stuff: It will be an economic boon, it is a great place for city kids to come and experience wildness, it is a great place for Vets to rehab, it is a really pretty place, etc.


I suppose it was all really theater. There was a paucity of serious or well articulated opposition points of view. Now the delegation can go back to Washington and ask the Obama Administration to make the executive order making about 22,000 acres of Browns Canyon a National Monument. If it happens, the right wing blog-o-sphere will wear out their sharpies drawing little Hitler mustaches on Obama’s picture. If that is in fact all he has to risk, why wouldn't he? We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
 

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Here is a long post about how I feel about Brown's Canyon as a Nat. Mon. It was originally a response to a buddy from Durango who wanted to know what I thought and I got carried away. is probably too late, but I was inspired by the number of friends and community members I saw yesterday, and I'm laid up after surgery this week, so I'm gonna lay it on you.
Is National Monument status for Browns Canyon a good idea?​

The short answer is yes.

Preservation of a world class area like Browns Canyon is essential. The current uses of the area, principally non-motorized (white water) recreation, hunting, fishing, and ranching co-exist in an area of jaw-dropping natural beauty. Areas like Browns Canyon exemplify the natural values of “the commons” folks who live and visit here cherish. It often defines the highest quality in our quality of life.

“We the People” have an interest in preserving the commons. Those who believe in stewardship of natural resources are not just another special interest who prefer to use, say, kayaks. Because we are a democracy, we have a government to prevent elite factions from privatizing what belongs to all of us. This is precisely why “governments are instituted among men” and specifically, why there are designations such as National Monuments, National Parks, Wilderness Areas and the like. Once land is placed in these designations, they are much harder to privatize. If “We the People” don’t hold this land for the commons, the privatizers will take it for themselves.

The Browns Canyon area is used for outdoors sports and recreation and agriculture. The rugged nature of most of the terrain renders it unsuitable for development or motorized recreation, but the riparian and upland areas are vulnerable to the forces that would lease them for minerals extraction or sell them for development.

Opposition to the monument is based largely on an ideological framework that is antithetical to the notion of “the commons”. These opponents see special status for a resource such as Browns Canyon as the ceding of power to the government. They view the government not as an institution of the public, but simply as another special interest on a par with private interests. They view public land as a resource whose public status exists to provide unfettered access to private interests. Regulation of these interests is viewed as tyranny. “The tyrants want to criminalize my constitutional right to drive my ATV”, they say. You don’t have to be crazy to see things this way, just wrong.

Let me suggest another framework.

“The commons” are the resources in a society that belongs to all of its members. Examples are clean air, clean water, open space, and arguably, safe working conditions, education, health, housing, food, security, and the like. By definition, resources that are in the commons must not be privatized; they should be held in common, and should be looked at carefully for protective regulation, for safety, and equal access.

Caring for the commons is an act of stewardship. It is a social obligation not just to the individual members of a community or society, but to the resource itself. It is one of the few ways we have to acknowledge our debt to the past and future generations, as well as our link to the planet. It shows we believe in an enduring commitment to humanity, to ourselves as citizens of an ecosystem, not simply an economy. Natural resources don’t vote, can’t give to dark money campaign groups. Stewards are obliged to advocate for resources that are the commons and to fight the inevitable corruption that seeks to factionalize and privatize those resources.

This philosophical division is a fairly recent development not so much in the national political debate but in the history of the movement to preserve Browns Canyon. The need for special status for this area was so obvious, that it was originally proposed and supported Colorado’s entire legislative delegation. The list of its original supporters includes Colorado’s most conservative Republicans. Congressman Joel Hefley (R) introduced Browns Canyon Wilderness legislation which proposed 35,000 roadless acres. It was co-sponsored by Republicans Tom Tancredo, Marilyn Musgrave, Wayne Allard, and Bob Beauprez as well as Democrats Ken Salazar, John Salazar, and, of course, Mark Udall.
The Hefley legislation never came to a vote. Legislation moves at a glacial pace and the delay for legislation that was all but “in the bag” gave enough time for a proto tea party alliance rooted in the NRA to develop. This opposition drew on antigovernment right wing sentiment to combat protected status for Browns Canyon. Politicians were triangulated by extremists and one by one changed their positions for what was obviously purely political motivation.

Mark Udall bravely stood up to these obstructionist partisans, accommodated all conceivable genuine concerns, and introduced legislation to include a reduced 20,000 acre area in a Browns Canyon National Monument. In March of 2012, Udall and Friends of Browns Canyon inaugurated a “collaborative, community-driven process to listen to the community and create legislation…” for a National Monument.

Brown’s Canyon’s status is in the news now because of a request by the National Monument’s bill’s sponsor Mark Udall. Due to the obstructionist deadlock in Congress by the Republicans, the only chance of achieving the protected status is by asking President Obama to declare it by an executive order. (They had the votes in the House, but Boehner wouldn’t bring it to the floor)
A public meeting with Udall, Bennett, other supporters of the National Monument and top officials of the Obama administration ( U.S. Forest Service chief Tim Tidwell, BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis, et al.) will be held in Salida this afternoon to discuss the possible action. (Was held Saturday Dec.6)

As expected, the usual opposition has complained. Some local Republicans in opposition were interviewed in the local paper. One said that an executive order is an end run around the legislative process. Another who has a grazing lease in the area said that Udall’s defeat was a referendum on the issue so it was an expression of anti-monument public sentiment. Others I have talked to basically are fearful of any restriction on their access to ATV trails.

All these arguments are disingenuous.

Presidents do executive orders all the time. Those who complain about this one don’t mind them when their guy is in, they just don’t want Obama to do anything. In fact, according to the leadership of the Republican Party, their stated goal is to deny Obama and Democrats any success whatsoever including issues supported by majority sentiment. As conclusively reported and admitted by Republican leadership, they vowed to “obstruct every single piece of legislation” from the Democrats including the Brown’s Canyon National Monument. (See Do Not Ask What Good We Do - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Obama has issued far fewer executive orders than GW Bush did and a miniscule number compared with the conservative’s patron saint, Ronald Regan. (See table below). This procedural rationale for opposition to Browns Canyon National Monument has zero substance.

Motorized access to remote pristine locations is regulated and restricted. Some mourn this loss of access and believe they are being victimized. But delicate natural areas have a finite capacity for motorized impact. There has been discussion and negotiation on this point. The access lost to this special interest group in locations outside of the proposed monument is irrelevant. So too, I suppose, is the irreparable damage done by motorized outlaws whose numbers cannot be held in check by an underfunded enforcement effort.
The contention that the trails favored by OHV users have been reduced to zero is not true (see comment from Friends of Brown’s Canyon website below). The Turret road, which the OHV users feared they would lose, is “cherry stemmed” into the proposal so it can continue to be used. Motorized recreation advocates seem mostly afraid of the “incremental” loss of their faction’s special interest access to the commons.

And, the proposed legislation does not change the status of one single blade of grass for grazing leases. In other words, there is no grazing lease issue.

There have been some comments at public hearings about how regulation will prevent access to nature lovers. I know several of these commenters from my associations in the community. Many are motorized recreationists and are largely ill informed about what will be open to them, what is not open to them, and what is still on the table for discussion. They are basically ill informed. Understand—it is difficult to get good information on this or any other regional topic in rural Colorado.

There are, finally, some who oppose the national Monument because they are shills for motorized recreation, privatization interests, and gas and oil. Over 200 local business support the national Monument and I do not know even one serious environmentalist who opposes it.

So, the conclusion that must be drawn after all this is that there is every reason to protect Browns Canyon as a special resource and every single reason to deny the status is without substance.

ADDENDUM
1. Executive Orders

President
Party
Number of Exec Orders
F.D. Roosevelt
D
3721
H. S. Truman
D
907
Eisenhower
R
484
Kennedy
D
214
Johnson
D
325
Nixon
R
346
Ford
R
169
Carter
D
320
Regan
R
381
G. H. W. Bush
R
166
Clinton
D
364
G.W. Bush
R
291
Obama
D
193
Executive Orders


2. As for the grazing lease issue, here are the exact words from the proposal:
(E) Grazing.--
(i) In general.--Except as provided in
subparagraph (iv), the laws (including
regulations) and policies followed by the
Secretary concerned in issuing and
administering grazing permits or leases for the
National Monument shall continue to apply in
the same manner as on the day before the date
of enactment of this Act.
(ii) Effect of designation.--There shall be
no curtailment of grazing in the National
Monument or Wilderness simply because of a
designation under this Act.

3. Motorized recreation access. This is from the Friends of Brown’s Canyon website regarding the initial bi partisan support of Republican Congressman Heffly’s Browns Canyon Wilderness Proposal:
“Browns Canyon legislation enjoyed bi-partisan support for a number of reasons, but among them was the balance struck between areas open to motor vehicles and areas where vehicles would not be allowed—the proposed Wilderness. The Four Mile Travel Management Area, which provides over 180 miles of routes for all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles lies just to the north of the Wilderness proposal, and there are 5,000 miles of legal, open motorized trails within 100 miles of Salida.”

(It would be a great classroom discussion/ research topic in our abandoned Civics curriculum to develop a good workable definition of what is or should be
 

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Those who complain about this one don’t mind them when their guy is in, they just don’t want Obama to do anything.
This procedural rationale for opposition to Browns Canyon National Monument has zero substance.
I voted for Obama in 2008. I use to be in the pro-protection group for almost every possible land designation there was. Groups like SUWA, PIRGS, Sierra Club, etc used passionate but relatively naive youngsters like myself for canvassing fodder for obvious reasons. After I have spent more time in the rural west my views have changed.

In this particular case its solely a rhetorical tool to assume their is no substance to concerns and critique of presidential use of executive orders, even in regards to land designation. My principle concern is the the regional citizens who have cultural and economic histories associated with "traditional" land use, i.e. utilitarian efforts like ranching. A review of the history of GSENM shows how devestating executive orders can be for local residents. While its not the only variable of concern its one that is often better included through legislative process than presidential decree.

In the long term I have watched local populations not only culturally and economically traumatized by such political choices but also completely abandoned as possible long term allies to stewardship. Creating buy-in to land management changes rarely happens with the us-versus-them attitude that accompanies the partisan associations of the White House and its policies.

I can be pro-stewardship and antagonistic to the continual extension of executive orders and presidential powers. And this is coming from someone more aligned with the DNC than RNC, though I find both problematic.

every single reason to deny the status is without substance.
While I think it would be naive to deny the possible benefits associated with designating Browns Canyon i also think its inaccurate and disingenuous to not recognize the inherent flaws and tensions this particular avenue creates for communities. It replicates the us-versus-them attitude that so often defines modern politicking. While legislation has its own flaws it allows us to regulate as closely as possible to consensus which has its benefits for future relationships. How we relate with each other through time has significant impacts on how land is managed into the future.

Its also fair to highlight that all the national monuments I have spent time in during the last 15 years experienced noticeable and sometimes radical changes to policy and personality. This despite the traditional rhetoric that it is one of the most restrained ways to manage land and access. I have a healthy skepticism for any program that tries to proclaim changes will be minimal, or even non-existent, when a new set of agency protocols are initiated.

Does all this mean I am against protecting Browns Canyon? Nope, I tend to favor such efforts especially when there is potential for extraction near river corridors. I just tend to favor the legislative process even when it takes a lot longer than is ideal as I am no longer a proponent of the presidential use of the Antiquities Act.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
1. There have been individuals trying to get Browns protected through the legislative process for well over 20 years, and while there is overwhelming local support it has failed to move forward.

2. There are real threats to our public lands that make it more important than ever to get a permanent form of protection in place.

3. Policy and management are written in the documentation to not be changed by designation. There are many Monuments in the US that are still under local regulation, not federal. If anything changes due to increased use of Browns it will have to go through the management plan review process that currently exists which for each agency involved requires a public review and scoping period.
 
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