From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):
How people enjoy and use the Arkansas River between Leadville and Lake Pueblo will be the focus of state and federal officials as they update the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area management plan.
Of course, the public’s input is encouraged. Public comment on three alternative management plans will be accepted through June 22.
With Alternative 1, use would be increased to a small degree, while Alternative 2 would allow increased use to a much larger degree. Alternative 3 would keep use as it is now without change, according to Kyle Davidson, a spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Public input will help representatives with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife develop an environmental assessment, which will include a preferred alternative. It should be available for further public scrutiny this fall.
Essentially, the management plan is a blueprint for how the agencies will manage the 152-mile river corridor and find balance between often-conflicting recreational uses such as rafting and fishing. The Arkansas is the most commercially rafted river in the U.S. and also is home to a Gold Medal Trout fishery.
The recreation area consists of 45 recreation sites, including six campgrounds, 26 boat ramps and 18 developed facilities. About 800,000 visitors use the river corridor each year.
The partnership also is eyeing how it will manage river-based recreation through the newly dedicated Browns Canyon National Monument.
The current management plan can be reviewed at http://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/ ArkansasHeadwatersRecreationArea/ Pages/publications. aspx. To submit a comment visit cpw. state.co.us/placestogo/ parks/ArkansasHeadwatersRecreationArea/ Pages/default. asps.