WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama this week plans to name Browns Canyon, in central Colorado, a national monument, a designation that adds a new layer of federal protection to the popular spot for whitewater rafting. About 21,000 acres around the Arkansas River will be included in the listing. Obama will make the announcement Thursday in Chicago, where he’ll also declare a site in Illinois and one in Hawaii to be national monuments, according to the White House. News of Colorado’s coming designation spread quickly through the state’s wilderness circles. Bill Dvorak, who runs an outdoor-expedition business near the Arkansas River, called the region a “sanctuary for wildlife” and said it was about time the government preserved its beauty. “I’ve been working on this for over 20 years, and I’m so damn thankful it’s happening,” he said. “It will do a good thing for the economy. It puts a star on the Rand McNally maps.” The White House move comes on the heels of a failed effort last year by two Colorado Democrats to protect Browns Canyon. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and then-U.S. Sen. Mark Udall tried to pass legislation that would have preserved a similar area near Salida, but the bill failed to advance through Congress. In response, Bennet and Gov. John Hickenlooper urged Obama to take executive action. Specifically, the two Democrats recommended Obama use a law known as the Antiquities Act, which dates back to the administration of Theodore Roosevelt.The measure gives broad power to the president to set aside federal land for protection — but without the need for congressional approval. Obama has used the Antiquities Act 16 times, including the latest three in Colorado, Hawaii and Illinois. The one in Hawaii will preserve a site where Japanese-Americans were held in internment camps; the one in Illinois will honor the Pullman area in Chicago, a locale important to the labor civil rights movements. In all, Obama has put more than 260 million acres of land and water under federal protection — more than any other president, according to administration officials. It’s that use of executive power, however, that drew the ire … – Click Here To Visit Article Source