@COParksWildlife: Open houses set for draft AHRA management plan and environmental assessment

Here’s the release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (Bill Vogrin):

The public is invited to a series of open houses and to offer written input on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) Draft Management Plan and Environmental Assessment proposed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

Open houses on the draft will be held during the third week of October in Colorado Springs, Buena Vista and Cañon City. The public is invited to make comments until Nov. 10.

The AHRA Management Plan and Environmental Assessment provide a framework for managing numerous recreation activities along the 152-mile river corridor. The release of this draft plan follows a comprehensive review of environmental, recreational and cultural resources along with extensive public involvement and review of public input.

The BLM, USFS and CPW carefully considered key issues identified through a scoping process in 2016. These included boating capacities, management of fisheries and wildlife habitat, public river access and facilities.

The draft outlines four alternatives for future management in the recreation area, providing a diversity of recreation opportunities from primitive lower use/development opportunities to urban higher use/development opportunities.

Public input will be used by the AHRA partnership as it prepares its final management plan and environmental assessment. The agencies hope to release the final document by early 2018.

The AHRA partnership manages river-based recreation through Browns Canyon National Monument. The BLM and USFS manage the 21,589-acre Browns Canyon National Monument, which was designated in 2015.

An explanation of the planning process, links to the draft plan and a public comment form can be found here: http://cpw.state.co.us/ahra-plan

Public Open Houses

5:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23
CPW Southeast Regional Office
4255 Sinton Road, Colorado Springs, 80907

5:30-7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 24
BLM Royal Gorge Field Office
3028 E. Main St., Cañon City, 81212

5:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25
Buena Vista Community Center
715 E. Main St., Buena Vista, 81211

For more information about the AHRA, contact the recreation area at 719-539-7289, or visit the Visitor Center at the corner of G and Sackett Streets in Salida.

The Arkansas River is the most commercially rafted river in the U.S., drawing nearly 240,000 commercial boaters and generating an economic impact of more than $60 million annually. AHRA visitors enjoy rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rock climbing and even gold panning along the river’s 152 miles of shoreline and surrounding canyons, valleys and towering mountain peaks found within the upper Arkansas River valley.​​​​​​​​

Important note: All comments and personal identifying information – including your name, address, phone number and e-mail address – may be subject to public disclosure under Colorado’s Open Records Act, or CORA.

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