View and Download High Resolution Photos of the Visit HERE
From Left to Right: Congressman Jason Crow, Senator Michael Bennet, Congressman Joe Neguse
SUMMIT COUNTY — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse and Jason Crow convened a group of public lands leaders, veterans, and local elected officials at the Divide Trail to advocate for inclusion of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act in the final FY 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is currently being negotiated in Congress.
“One of the best things we could do for Colorado’s veterans, outdoor recreation economy, and wildlife is pass the CORE Act,” said Bennet. “There’s no better way to finally get this done than to include it in this year’s NDAA, especially given its designation of Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape. I’m grateful to Representatives Joe Neguse and Jason Crow for championing the CORE Act in the House, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to pass the CORE Act this year. Thank you to all of the county and community leaders for the work they’ve done over the last decade to craft and support this bill.”
“Thanks to the hard-work of so many local officials, conservationists, and community leaders, we’ve secured passage of the CORE Act in the U.S. House twice in the past ten months,” said Neguse. “This critical legislation, developed carefully through the leadership of Senator Bennet, will invest in the outdoor activities that are part of our way of life in Colorado, preserve our treasured public lands and designate the first-ever National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale to honor the legacy of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. It is crucial we protect our public lands and the CORE Act protects nearly 400,000 acres of beautiful Colorado. It is long past time for the Senate to get this done, and we’ll keep fighting to make that happen.”
“For over 100 years, Americans have preserved our public lands and it is now our responsibility to protect them for future generations,” said Crow. “I promised to protect public lands in Congress and I’m proud as a member of the Armed Services Committee to work with Representative Neguse and Senator Bennet to help secure its passage in this year’s NDAA. Public lands are more than recreation, they are part of our national soul. We will continue to pressure the Senate to include the CORE Act in this year’s final NDAA.”
In 2019, Bennet and Neguse introduced the bicameral CORE Act in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The House has passed the legislation twice. Bennet has called for a hearing in the Senate, and continues to push for its passage.
Neguse, a member of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, and Crow, a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, were instrumental in the CORE Act’s inclusion in the House-passed NDAA earlier this year.
The last Colorado wilderness bill signed into law was Bennet and U.S. Representative Scott Tipton’s Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, which passed in 2014 in the annual NDAA.
The group met along the Divide Trail, where the Porcupine Gulch Wildlife Conservation Area would be designated by the CORE Act to protect a wildlife corridor—the only land bridge over I-70 in Colorado.
Several veterans attended today’s event, including descendants of 10th Mountain Division soldiers who trained at Camp Hale and fought in World War II—only to return to Colorado to help build the modern outdoor recreation and ski economy.
Bennet has made several trips this summer to areas that would be protected by the CORE Act. In August, Bennet and hunters and anglers from across the state highlighted victories in the CORE Act for hunting, fishing, and outdoor enthusiasts in the Gunnison River Basin. The groups also released an analysis explaining exactly what the CORE Act protects for hunters and anglers––including miles of blue ribbon trout stream and elk habitat––and reaffirmed their support for the public lands bill.
Coloradans who attended today’s event included Colorado Department of Natural Resources Director Dan Gibbs, The Wilderness Society Senior Regional Director Scott Miller, Pitkin County Commissioner and Son of 10th Mountain Division Veteran Greg Poschman, Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry, 10th Mountain Division Foundation President Nancy Kramer, and modern 10th Mountain Division veterans Mike Greenwood and Jim McGuirk.
“Colorado and the wildlife that call our state home need the CORE Act,” said Scott Miller, senior regional director at The Wilderness Society. “The lands proposed as the Porcupine Gulch Wildlife Conservation Area and as additions to the Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness would help ensure that the elk, deer, black bears, and other animals have the space they need to roam freely while also protecting some of our state’s most spectacular lands. Now we need Senator Gardner to join other members of our congressional delegation and Coloradans across the state to support the CORE Act and protect the places and wildlife that make our state special.”
“We have been working on this for over 12 years,” said Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier. “The Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act was first introduced by our Governor Polis, then it was combined with seven counties’ public lands protection in the CORE Act. Our Congressman Neguse led the way to get the CORE Act passed through the House. Our Senator Bennet has been working diligently on this for many years. Senator Gardner is not listening to his constituents in all seven counties. We need him to listen and act to protect these precious public lands for us and for future generations.”
"Eagle County is pleased that the CORE Act passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Kathy Chandler-Henry, Eagle County Commissioner. “Our public lands define the American spirit, and continue to be a place where people go to gain strength and resiliency. Our reliance on public lands is especially apparent in this time of challenges from COVID-19. The CORE Act will designate Camp Hale as National Historic Landscape and preserve important wildlife habitat prized by local hunters and anglers. We are hopeful that the CORE Act passes the U.S. Senate so current and future generations can always have a place to go for reflection, growth, and adventure.”
“The recognition of the legacy of 10th Mountain Division by virtue of the designation of Camp Hale as an Historic Landscape is the foundational element to this Act,” said Nancy B. Kramer, Descendant and President of the 10th Mountain Division Foundation. “For it is the heritage – the story – that informs our present and future. To this end, this designation brings authenticity and relevance to the preservation of the proposed public lands necessary to expand the economic impact of Colorado's outdoor recreation industry.”
The CORE Act, which combines four Colorado public lands proposals developed over a decade, builds on longstanding efforts to protect public lands in Colorado by establishing 400,000 acres of new wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas, including the first-ever National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale.
CORE Act House and Senate Bill text, a fact sheet, frequently asked questions, maps, letters of support, and more are available at www.bennet.senate.gov/COREAct.
CORE Act b-roll and other media resources are available HERE.