“Colorado and the Arkansas River valley depend on tourism and recreation for economic health,” said Hammer. “Browns Canyon is one of the most popular stretches of river in the country for whitewater rafting. This Colorado resource is also known for its rugged beauty, gold medal fishing, abundant wildlife, and world class outdoor recreation.”
Hammer sees current gold mining claims as a threat to the region’s habitat and recreation opportunities. Browns Canyon between Buena Vista and Salida is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, anglers, and boaters. This rugged environment provides critical habitat for eagles, elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lion and black bear. Browns Canyon was recently designated Gold Medal status by the state of Colorado making it the longest stretch of Gold Medal waters in the state.
The US Bureau of Land Management currently manages Browns Canyon as a wilderness study area. This designation temporarily prevents mining and some development in the area. Udall’s legislation provides permanent protection for the region, its habitat and for tourism and recreation including whitewater rafting in one of Colorado’s most popular river rafting spots. Upwards of 100,000 people raft through Browns Canyon each summer, accounting for almost 40 percent of Colorado’s entire river rafting activity.
Udall's bill is derived from the input of rafting outfitters, local business leaders, fishing guides, and ranchers. Hammer said he and other business owners support the bill because it will provide increased wildlife preservation, sustainability of the local outdoor recreation economy and the ability for future generations to enjoy pristine scenery and clean water.
“As a company that annually contributes a percentage of our rafting income to the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA),” said Hammer, “The Adventure Company believes that river conservation is of the utmost importance in protecting this special area for the future.”
About The Adventure Company
Founded in Breckenridge, Colorado, in 1987, whitewater rafting (http://www.theadventurecompany.com/