CHAFFEE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – President Barack Obama is designating a new national monument in Colorado for protection as an ecologically significant site.

Browns Canyon National Monument is located in Chafee County near the Sawatch mountains, about 7 miles northwest of Salida and south of Buena Vista. The 21,000-acre site along the Arkansas River is popular for whitewater rafting.

The White House said the monument designation will “protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans.”

Former Sen. Mark Udall praised the action, calling it “a landmark victory for the thousands of Coloradans who have stood up and asked their leaders for years to protect this special place.”

“I was proud to champion this decades-long, bipartisan effort alongside leaders like Congressman Joel Hefley and the people of Chaffee County. Thanks to the president’s action, which mirrors my community-driven legislation, future generations of anglers, rafters, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will be able to enjoy this special place along the Arkansas River as we do today,” Udall said.

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