Bennet, Hickenlooper, Polis, and Neguse Urged President Biden to Use the Antiquities Act to Make Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range a National Monument
Denver –– Last month, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse urged President Joe Biden to use his Presidential authorities, including the Antiquities Act, to protect the landscapes included in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act and make Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range a national monument.
Since then, veterans, Colorado elected leaders, and conservation and outdoor recreation advocates have joined the lawmakers’ effort and called on President Biden to swiftly take action.
On Tuesday night, Bennet spoke to President Biden about the importance of protecting our public lands and making Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range a national monument.
Here’s what they’re saying about this effort:
“Our public lands and waters located within the CORE Act, including Colorado’s Camp Hale and the surrounding areas once used as training grounds, define our country, and it is what I fought for and am still fighting to defend. Much of the nation’s—and specifically Colorado’s—ski industry stemmed from World War II veterans who were trained there. Taking skills learned on public lands and giving them back to the general public in a continued service that lives on through today. President Biden can honor generations of veterans by designating the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument,” said Brad Noone, 10th Mountain Division combat veteran (Afghanistan 2006-2007).
“We are thrilled with the possibility of a new monument designation for Camp Hale in Eagle County. This monument will honor the service of our veterans from the 10th Mountain Division who trained at Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range, served our nation with distinction in World War II and returned home to help found Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy. This national historic landscape will receive the protections it deserves through monument designation, assuring it will be enjoyed and serve as a place of respect for generations to come,” said Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner.
“The Wilderness Society has long supported community-driven efforts to protect lands from the San Juan Mountains to Thompson Divide to the Continental Divide and Camp Hale. We strongly encourage President Biden to exercise his executive authority to protect these treasured places by designating the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, and doing everything he can to secure protections for the Thompson Divide and in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest plan. These actions would be responsive to the consensus we have built with communities and local partners over the years around the CORE Act,” said Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director, The Wilderness Society.
“Declaring the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument will help ensure that all people, from all walks of life and parts of this nation and beyond will know that this area will be protected to continue as a vital part of the American West,” said Mayor Hunter Mortensen, Frisco, Colorado.
“Few places epitomize the connection between Veterans and our nation’s public lands quite like Camp Hale, a former training site for the U.S. Army – most notably for the 10th Mountain Division – where Soldiers learned to fight in cold weather conditions. After World War II ended, those very same Veterans returned to these areas and helped launch the ski industry and modern outdoor recreational economy of Colorado. This is a campaign we’ve been working on for years with our fellow Veterans on the ground in Colorado and here in Washington. We want to offer a sincere thanks to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, Governor Polis, and Congressman Joe Neguse for their unwavering commitment to championing the creation of the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument. Without them, this campaign would not be where it is today. President Biden, we urge you to use your authority via the Antiquities Act to permanently protect Camp Hale and create the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument – a place everyone will be able to enjoy for generations to come, Veterans and non-Veterans alike,” said Janessa Goldbeck, CEO, Vet Voice Foundation.
“Colorado's public lands are essential to our unparalleled wildlife. The CORE Act would safeguard special places and also serve as a model for balancing outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation. We join the broad array of countless others across our state who have supported the CORE Act for these many years and the request by Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, Representative Neguse and Governor Polis that these lands finally become protected. For example, an administrative 20-year mineral withdrawal in the Thompson Divide, following community engagement, would provide interim protections from future oil and gas leasing in this critical wildlife landscape, while these committed leaders move the legislative process forward to gain a permanent withdrawal,” said Suzanne O'Neill, Colorado Wildlife Federation.
“The Tenmile Range and Camp Hale are some of the most unique sites among the many cultural, historical, and natural resources that the Continental Divide Trail connects. For time immemorial, this landscape has been stewarded by Indigenous people and the designation of this National Monument can help ensure the ongoing protection of this special place. With these proposed protections, we hope for a strategy of bold, innovative stewardship that meets this moment of the climate crisis while serving the communities that depend on vibrant, connected greenspaces the most. This action on the part of Colorado’s delegation demonstrates that community-led conservation not only works, but that leaders in Congress like Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, and Representative Neguse, are listening to the urgent calls for bold action to protect our special places,” said Teresa Martinez, executive director, Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC).
“Coloradans love our wild places. Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper and Representative Neguse are responding to support from across the state for stronger protections for Colorado’s beautiful landscapes and critical ecosystems. The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will be an excellent addition to our state’s already impressive array of unique protected places. Safeguarding these lands will move us closer to our national goal to protect 30 percent of our nation’s lands and waters by 2030, a critical action for fighting climate change, saving wildlife species and creating a greener future for all,” said Ellen Montgomery, public lands campaign director, Environment Colorado.
“Colorado’s national monuments are treasured places that help tell the multi-layered story of our country. The story of the Camp Hale landscape changed our state forever and deserves to be preserved, protected, and collaboratively interpreted for future generations here in Colorado and nationwide. This is why we proudly join so many voices at the grassroots, local, and national level in urging the Biden administration to designate a Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument,” said Tracy Coppola, Senior Colorado Program Manager, National Parks Conservation Association.
“Mountain Mamas are so grateful to Senators Bennet, Hickenlooper, and Congressman Joe Neguse for their hard work to protect Colorado's Camp Hale and Continental Divide Trail. Moms support their efforts and urge the Biden administration to take action and designate these places as national monuments. All Americans, especially Coloradans, appreciate the importance of valuing and preserving our lands. By protecting these areas that hold important history, we are ensuring our children and their children will share in the pride we feel for our state's history and contributions. They will also have places to recreate and enjoy the Colorado way of life as we do today,” said Jen Clanahan, Colorado Director, Mountain Mamas.
“This is an excellent opportunity for President Biden to use his authority to protect public lands at the invitation of state lawmakers and community stakeholders who have worked tirelessly to put together a responsible conservation plan for Colorado. The CORE Act has strong public support among Coloradans, where residents see the value in conserving public lands for future generations. Almost 90 percent of Colorado voters said they support protections proposed in the CORE Act in recent polling conducted by the Center for Western Priorities. Despite strong public support, the CORE Act has been held up in the Senate by lawmakers who are dead set against passing any conservation legislation. It’s time for President Biden to step in to deliver for the people of Colorado,” said Jennifer Rokala, Executive Director, Center for Western Priorities.
“I’m thrilled that Senator Bennet is calling on President Biden to take prompt action to protect the Thompson Divide! Our community has been working for well over a decade to protect ranching, recreation, and wildlife in the Divide from oil and gas development; an administrative withdrawal will expand existing protections and provide certainty until the CORE Act permanently protects these public lands. We’re also excited to work with our communities to support a National Monument designation for the Camp Hale – Continental Divide landscape. We’re grateful to see Colorado’s leaders responding to the overwhelming support for permanently protecting the CORE Act landscapes. We remain committed to passing the full CORE Act to designate the spectacular proposed Wilderness and other public lands in this critical legislation,” said Will Roush, Executive Director, Wilderness Workshop.
“LCV joins advocates and officials in Colorado in calling to protect Camp Hale, the Tenmile Range, and the Thompson Divide,” LCV President Gene Karpinski said. “Thank you to Senator Bennet for his leadership in pushing to protect these magnificent places. We look forward to working with him, Senator Hickenlooper, Congressman Neguse, Governor Polis and the Biden-Harris administration to preserve these historical and ecological resources and support the ever-growing outdoor recreation economy.”
“In the CORE Act, Colorado lawmakers have taken great care to protect the world-class hiking, climbing, and mountain biking along the Continental Divide, the San Juan Mountains, and the Thompson Divide. We join Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Representative Neguse, and Governor Polis in asking the Biden administration to advance this a collaborative and locally-led approach to crafting the legislation, and the proposed protections in the CORE Act have been proposal that has been carefully vetted by recreation groups to protect and enhance hiking, climbing, skiing, and mountain biking, while also providing broader protection for the landscape. As outdoor recreationists passionate about conservation, we strongly support the thoughtful protections embodied in the CORE Act,” said Louis Geltman, policy director, Outdoor Alliance.
“The CORE Act protects Colorado’s public lands, including some exceptional mountain peaks and traverses. Access Fund, and the entire climbing community, deeply appreciate protecting the legacy of Camp Hale, where many of the climbing, skiing, and mountaineering techniques used today were developed by the 10th Mountain Division. Colorado climbers support the CORE Act and join Senator Bennet, Hickenlooper, Representative Neguse, and Governor Polis in asking the Biden administration to protect the places within the CORE Act,” said Erik Murdock, Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, Access Fund.