On November 15, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will host the last of three listening sessions giving the public the opportunity to provide preliminary comments on the land-use planning process for Brown’s Canyon National Monument located in central Colorado. Established through presidential proclamation in February 2015, Browns Canyon’s 21,586 acres currently serve the public as a popular destination for hunters and anglers along the Arkansas River corridor.
Although the presidential proclamation establishing the monument acknowledges that the area “provides world class river rafting and outdoor recreation opportunities, including hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding,” the extent to which these activities will be allowed in the future will be largely determined by the federal land-use planning process that will guide management of Browns Canyon for years to come. Consequently, it is important for citizens to provide input throughout all stages of planning in order to have their voices heard.
In April, 2016, the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council (WHHCC), a federal advisory committee tasked with providing recommendations to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior on issues of importance to sportsmen and women and wildlife, outlined a series of suggestions for federal agencies to consider prior to the creation of national monuments. These recommendations included:
The proposal should be developed through a public process that results in support from local sportsmen and women and consultation with state and local governments. The input of sportsmen and women should also be considered in the monument management plans that are developed subsequent to designation.
Reasonable public access should be retained to enable continued hunting, fishing and recreational target shooting opportunities.
The monument proclamation should clearly stipulate that any existing state management authority over fish and wildlife populations will be retained by state fish and wildlife agencies with the coordination and flexibility necessary to fulfill public trust responsibilities to conserve fish and wildlife and achieve wildlife management objectives including the ability to establish seasons, bag limits and regulate method-of-take.
Lands currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service should remain under the authority of these multiple-use focused land management agencies subsequent to any monument designation.
Sporting opportunities should be upheld and the historical and cultural significance of hunting and fishing explicitly acknowledged in the monument proclamation.
In places where it is a historic and existing use, recreational target shooting should be recognized as being consistent with the stated purpose(s) of a monument when compatible with the protection of objects that facilitate outdoor recreation opportunities.
The November 15 listening session will take place at 6:00 p.m. in Buena Vista, Colorado (location to be announced) and attendees are encouraged to RSVP. To register for the listening session, find out more about the Browns Canyon planning process or submit comments online, visit www.Brownscanyonplan.org.
To read the WHHCC monument recommendations, click here.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?