Colorado Veterans, State and Local Officials, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Advocates, Business Owners, and Descendants of the 10th Mountain Division Write in Support of the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument
Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet delivered dozens of letters from Colorado veterans, state and local officials, conservation and outdoor recreation advocates, business owners, and descendants of the 10th Mountain Division urging President 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.
Along with Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse, Bennet has continued to urge President Biden to take executive action to designate Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range a national monument.
Last week, the Vet Voice Foundation led over 30 local and national organizations in a letter to President Biden urging him to use the Antiquities Act to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide as a national monument.
Today, Bennet delivered letters to President Biden from:
10th Mountain Division Descendants, 10th Mountain Division Foundation, The National Association of the 10th Mountain Division, and Vet Voice Foundation.
State and Local Officials
Colorado General Assembly Leadership Senate President Steve Fenberg, Senate Majority Leader Dominick Moreno, President Pro Tempore Kerry Donovan, Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, Speaker Pro Tempore Adrienne Benavidez, and Joint Budget Committee Chair Rep Julie McCluskie.
Colorado State Senators Chris Hansen, Chris Kolker, Faith Winter, Julie Gonzales, and Rachel Zenzinger.
Colorado State Representatives Andrew Boesenecker, Barbara McLachlan, Brianna Titone, Cathy Kipp, Chris Kennedy, Dafna Michaelson Jenet, David Ortiz, Dylan Roberts, Edie Hooton, Emily Sirota, Iman Jodeh, Judy Amabile, Julie McCluskie, Karen McCormick, Lisa Cutter, Mary Young, Matt Gray, Meg Froelich, Mike Weissman, Monica Duran, Shannon Bird, Steve Woodrow, and Tracey Bernett.
Mayors Sarah Smith Hymes (Town of Avon, Colorado), Eric Mamula (Town of Breckenridge, Colorado), and Hunter Mortenson (Town of Frisco, Colorado).
County Commissioners Jeanne McQueeney, Kathy Chandler-Henry, and Matt Scherr (Eagle County), Jonathan Houck, Liz Smith, and Roland Mason (Gunnison County), Lynn Padgett, Jake Niece, and Ben Tisdel (Ouray County), Patti Clapper, Francie Jacober, Greg Poschman, Steven F. Child, and Kelly McNicholas-Kury (Pitkin County), Kris Holstrom, Hillary Cooper, and Lance Waring (San Miguel), Josh Blanchard, Tamara Pogue, and Elisabeth Lawrence (Summit County), Scott Fetchenhier (Chairman, San Juan), and Peter C. McKay (retired Chairman, San Juan).
Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Groups
Access Fund, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Californians for Western Wilderness, Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, Colorado Association of Ski Towns, Colorado Wildlife Federation, Conservation Alliance, Conservation Colorado, Conservation Lands Foundation, Conservation Society of California (Oakland Zoo), Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Dolores River Boating Advocates, EcoFlight, Environment America, Environment Colorado, Friends of Plumas Wilderness, Great Old Broads for Wilderness (Grand Junction Area Chapter), Great Old Broads for Wilderness (National), GreenLatinos, High Country Conservation Advocates, Hispanic Access Foundation, Hunters of Color, Information Network for Responsible Mining, League of Conservation Voters, Mountain Mamas, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), National Religious Partnership for the Environment, National Wildlife Federation, Partnership for the National Trails System, Outdoor Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Sheep Mountain Alliance, Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, The Mountain Pact, The Wilderness Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited, Trust for Public Land, Tuleyome, Western Leaders Network, Wilderness Workshop, and Wildlands Network.
10th Mountain Division Hut Association, 7000 Feet Running Company, Alpine Gift Shoppe, Americas for Fjallraven, Aspen Traders, Backbone Media, Backpacker’s Pantry, Big Agnes Inc., Blue Flower Candies & Provisions, Carboy Winery LLC, Corvus: Clothing and Curiosities, Double Z Bar and BBQ, Elemente, Elevation Goods, Fay and Maye, Fenix Outdoor Agriculture, FREIGHT910, LLC, GRAND LAKE WINE & SPIRITS, Grand Pizza, Hala Gear / Twitch LLC, Harperrose Studios, Howl Mercantile and Coffee, Integrity Tattoo & Piercing, Kaleidoscope Toys, Kelty and Sierra Designs, La Sportiva N.A., Inc., Last Exit Goods, Leadville Race Series, Lively Tours and Talks, Never Summer Mountain Products, Opal Boutique , Point6, River City Sun Wear, Rocky Mountain SUP, Ruby Blues, rygr, Salida Bike Company, Salida Mountain Sports, Simple Lodge and Hostel, Storm Peak Brewing Company, Su Casa Furniture and Sleep Shop, The Cellar on Railroad, The Conservation Alliance, The Next Eddy, The North Face, Verde Brand Communications, and Wood's High Mountain Distillery.
Here’s what Colorado’s veterans, advocates, and descendants of the 10th Mountain Division are saying:
“Mr. President, the designation of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide Trail National Monument will not just honor the people, heritage and landscape of this special place, the designation will ignite our ability to raise awareness of this lesser known military story of American courage. Furthermore, it will allow us to produce effective onsite interpretive programs and projects, investment in active service and veteran programs that inspire new careers and legacies in both the military and outdoor recreation industries. To this end, your action to establish the Camp Hale-Continental Divide Trail National Monument will leverage positive educational, cultural and economic impact within Colorado and throughout the Country,” said Nancy B. Kramer, President, 10th Mountain Division Foundation.
“We encourage you to move forward with executive action to open the heritage of Camp Hale to the public and ensure the legacy of the men that Camp Hale trained to make a difference. They made a difference in WWII and their impact continues as founders in the outdoor recreation industry in Colorado and throughout the nation. Camp Hale is worthy of national recognition,” said Ellen McWade, Director, Rocky Mountain Chapter, 10th Mountain Division Descendants.
“We urge you to designate Camp Hale and the nearby Tenmile Range as a National Monument to honor the World War II Veterans of the 10th Mountain Division, including its 5,000 casualties. It recognizes and enhances an important legacy that burns bright in our Soldiers today and preserves this important area for future generations,” said retired Army Maj. Gen. Galen B. Jackman, Chairman of the Board, National Association of the 10th Mountain Division.
Here’s what state and local officials representing Camp Hale, Tenmile Range, and other landscapes in the CORE Act are saying:
"These landscapes are simply too important for conservation and historic and cultural preservation to become the subject of ephemeral political whims. The CORE Act, which includes the areas mentioned previously and more, already passed the House of Representatives five times, only to meet repeated partisan obstacles in the United States Senate over the last several Congresses. While our advocacy on behalf of the legislation and our constituents will continue, the protection of these landscapes requires your immediate action. By conserving these lands, you will preserve a rich part of this country’s history through historic landmarks and objects of historic and scientific interest and we know it will provide a path for your administration to protect additional public lands in Colorado in the future,” said Colorado State Representatives Julie McCluskie (D-Dillon), Dylan Roberts (D- Avon), and Barbara McLachlan (D- Durango), Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) and 30 Colorado State Senators and Representatives in a Rep. Julie McCluskie-led letter.
“There is no better way to honor the men of the 10th, and the women who supported them, than by safeguarding the mountains and landscapes that forged them. I humbly ask you to use your power as president to protect these lands to ensure that future generations can fall in love with the outdoors that trained and supported some of America’s finest soldiers. The birthplace of America’s winter soldier deserves recognition as a place that inspires others to serve, or to simply pause and breathe in the deep peace of a mountain valley and experience the freedom of protected land that belongs to all,” said President Pro Tempore of the Colorado Senate Kerry Donovan (D-Vail).
“I would like to express the Town of Avon’s thoughts on the CORE Act. We write to you to urge your use of your Presidential authorities, including the Antiquities Act, to protect many of the landscapes included in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act. In particular, we request that you designate Colorado's Camp Hale and the Ten Mile Range as the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, that protection is offered on Colorado’s Thompson Divide through a mineral withdrawal, and that protections are put in place on the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests as identified in the CORE Act,” said Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes, Town of Avon, Colorado.
“The support that Colorado has received throughout the years from elected leaders, ranchers, heads of businesses and veterans shows the importance of conservation and preservation of these lands. Coloradans want the opportunity to pass on these lands, as they are naturally meant to be, to future generations. We strongly encourage you to use your Presidential authorities to protect Colorado’s public lands within the CORE Act. More importantly, we ask that your action under the Antiquities Act designate Colorado’s Camp Hale and Tenmile Range as the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument. This area in particular holds history that dates back to World War II making it the perfect candidate for a national monument designation. To further the impact that Camp Hale has had on Colorado history, many of the veterans who prepared for the war in this area returned to Colorado to establish Colorado's famous outdoor recreation culture by starting ski areas. Colorado is known and loved for these ski areas on an international level,” said Mayor Eric Mamula, Town of Breckenridge, Colorado.
“The town of Frisco exists today because of the history of Camp Hale and the mountains of the Ten Mile Range. We started out as a small mining town, whose future would not be found within the mountains, but on them. As mining fizzled out, our future was realized by the visionary soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who brought recreational skiing to our slopes after their return from WWII. We are now the heart of the most visited national forest in the United States. Every year, millions of Americans, and people from all over the world come to the Ten Mile Range and its peaks to ski, fish, hike, and enjoy the natural splendor that sits at the doorstep of my town. The adventurous spirit of the brave men who fought for our freedom unexpectedly also created one of Colorado’s most sustainable economic drivers. 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 Mortenson, Town of Frisco, Colorado.
“We deeply appreciate your bold actions to protect our public lands, national forests and address climate change throughout your leadership career and especially since you became President. We now ask for your swift action to take these steps to protect Colorado’s highly valued public lands for generations to come,” said Kris Holstrom, Hillary Cooper, and Lance Waring, San Miguel Board of Commissioners.
“We are writing to respectfully request that you designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, utilizing your powers under the Antiquities Act. Many people across Colorado, including residents of San Juan County, support the protection of this important and historic region. As you are aware, Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, along with Congressman Joe Neguse, recently made the same request. Designating the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will contribute to your Administration's goal of protecting 30% of our nation’s lands and waters through the America the Beautiful Initiative,” said Scott Fetchenhier, Chairman, San Juan County Commissioners.
“We thank you for your consideration of the recent request from Colorado’s leadership for the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument. Eagle County citizens and stakeholder groups strongly support this Monument designation. Camp Hale and the Continental Divide are a treasured part of our heritage and history. They are the ancestral home of the Ute Indians and later served as the training grounds for the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II. These lands and history became the incubator for many of the ski resorts in the west. Love of the mountains and outdoor recreation fuel our economy, and tie us to our roots,” said Jeanne McQueeney, Kathy Chandler-Henry, and Matt Scherr, Eagle County Board of County Commissioners.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our Congressional delegation toward the passage of the full CORE Act. Protecting some of the special areas in Pitkin County and across the state is an opportunity for both locals and visitors to continue to have access to these areas while still seeing the immense benefits protections will bring for recreation, ranching, and sporting for future generations. For all Coloradans, these areas are the source of our clean air and water and the wellspring of our identity and history and in such, worthy of our steadfast commitment to protect,” said Patti Clapper, Francie Jacober, Greg Poschman, Steven F. Child, and Kelly McNicholas-Kury, Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners.
“We believe there is enormous opportunity to tell not just the story of our nation’s heroes but share its connection to skiing and our cherished outdoors. Plus, as the Tenmile Range sits within the most visited district in the nation's most popular national forest, protecting these resources today ensures they can be enjoyed for generations to come. It’s an honor to join our colleagues from counties and municipalities throughout this region in support of this designation. We’re also grateful for Senator Bennet and the Colorado delegation’s work to preserve this national treasure and the stunning beauty of the Tenmile Range. We urge you to designate them as Camp Hale and Continental Divide National Monument,” said Josh Blanchard, Tamara Pogue, and Elisabeth Lawrence, Summit County Board of Commissioners.
“The Gunnison County Board of County Commissioners writes to you to share our strong support for the recent request you received from Colorado’s congressional; leadership and the Governor of Colorado to find a path forward for the designation of the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument and for the protection of Colorado’s Thompson Divide through a Federal Lands Policy and Management Act administrative mineral withdrawal. Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Congressman Neguse and Governor Polis have listened to and continue to advocate for the overwhelming sensible and thoughtful public lands protections have for our communities, our economy and the natural landscapes of these truly iconic places. For more than a decade, Coloradans have worked to make these proposals find common ground among many interested parties and stakeholders,” said Jonathan Houck, Liz Smith, and Roland Mason, Gunnison County Board of County Commissioners.
“The Ouray County Board of County Commissioners, along with other similar counties in Colorado, requests that you use your powers under the Antiquities Act to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. As you are aware, Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, along with Congressman Joe Neguse, recently made the same request. Many people across Colorado, including residents of Ouray County, support the protection of this important and historic region,” said Lynn Padgett, Jake Niece, and Ben Tisdel, Ouray County Board of Commissioners.
“I served for 20 years as a San Juan County, Colorado Commissioner. Much of my time was spent protecting public lands and specifically working on evolving components of the proposed CORE Act. I know we are closer than ever to passing the CORE Act but feel we need our help in the interim through the administrative process until passage is achieved,” said Peter C. McKay, retired San Juan County Commissioner.
Here’s what conservation and outdoor recreation groups are saying:
“The CORE Act has passed the House of Representatives five times but has continuously stalled in the Senate. We will continue to work with lead sponsors Senator Bennet and Representative Neguse to pass the entirety of the protections included in the bill. However, by acting immediately to protect the Mt. Emmons and Thompson Divide area from mining development and new oil and gas leasing, you will help us secure the protections that our community has been pursuing for decades,” said Brett Henderson, Executive Director, High Country Conservation Advocates.
“The Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) represents 41 municipalities and counties that drive the ski industry and mountain tourism economy in Colorado and other western states. We write to you to urge your use of your Presidential authorities, including the Antiquities Act, to protect many of the landscapes included in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act. In particular, we request that you designate Colorado's Camp Hale and the Ten Mile Range as the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, that protection is offered on Colorado’s Thompson Divide through a mineral withdrawal, and that protections are put in place on the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests as identified in the CORE Act,” said Dara MacDonald, President, Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST), which represents 27 ski towns across 5 counties in Colorado.
“Colorado’s hunting and angling heritage is rich, and our community is proud of the conservation achievements we’ve helped secure since statehood. We ask you to join us in making history again by writing the next great conservation success story. The time is right to exercise your executive authority, establish the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, and work with your cabinet secretaries to prioritize the use of administrative conservation tools that secure greater certainty for other Colorado landscapes. Together we can achieve the vision built at the grassroots level by local communities and articulated in the CORE Act for the for the future of our lands, waters, wildlife, and outdoor traditions,” said Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Colorado Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Federation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and Trout Unlimited.
“Camp Hale provides a unique piece of mountain history that will bring awareness to thousands of visitors about the societal contributions that mountain communities provide. Bringing additional resources to the Tenmile Range will help preserve the scientific importance of the area and make it more resilient so that future generations can enjoy it as much as those of today. Establishing these areas as a Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will bring great benefits to our Western mountain communities and will be a great step forward to providing our western communities with a bright future while honoring the past,” said Anna Peterson, Executive Director, The Mountain Pact.
“We strongly support your administration’s America the Beautiful initiative as a bold solution to the threat of climate change and biodiversity loss. The designation of Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range as the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will contribute to this critical conservation goal by preserving tens of thousands of acres. It will also make accessible to new generations the story of the heroic 10th Mountain Division’s World War II alpine warfare training and later development of Colorado’s vital ski industry, while also protecting its surrounding natural landscape, including a section of the Continental Divide,” said Theresa Pierno, President & CEO, National Parks Conservation Association.
“This area has been at the center of a grassroots conservation effort for over ten years, has the support of Colorado leadership including Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Representative Neguse, and Governor Polis, and will advance reaching the goals set by the America The Beautiful Initiative. For this reason, GreenLatinos supports the designation of Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument, and looks forward to a management plan, active stewardship, and interpretive education that speaks to the landscape’s complex history and future opportunities,” said Olivia E. Juarez, Public Land Program Director, GreenLatinos.
“As people of faith, we have a Scriptural tradition that teaches us how God cares deeply about how we treat the earth, urging us to ensure that some portions of God’s creation must be left intact for the sake of God’s glory. This stewardship mandate is coupled with a desire to understand and commune with God through creation. And, inherent in our call to protect God’s creation is the understanding that our stories are told through the land. The Camp Hale – Continental Divide site holds intrinsic value as part of God’s creation and helps visitors and nearby communities connect to God’s creation. A Camp Hale – Continental Divide national monument would offer a unique opportunity to tell an important story in our nation’s history and preserve a valuable part of God’s earth,” said Cassandra Carmichael, Executive Director, National Religious Partnership for the Environment.
Here’s what business owners along the Continental Divide and throughout Colorado are saying:
“This land is essential to our economy, our communities’ wellbeing, and our future. We thank the diligent work of Colorado leaders over the past decade to protect these important landscapes as part of the CORE Act. And we urge President Biden and the Department of the Interior to recognize this community-led effort by utilizing your administration’s powers to designate Camp Hale and the Ten Mile Range as the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument, and to protect the Thompson Divide and GMUG National Forests,” said a group of 34 local businesses from Buena Vista, Grand Lake, Leadville, Poncha Springs, Salida, and Steamboat Springs.
“As Colorado businesses and representatives of the human-powered outdoor recreation community, we are writing in support of executive actions called for by Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Congressman Neguse, and Governor Polis in a letter they submitted to your administration on August 25th. Specifically, we urge immediate action to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument that includes the Tenmile Range, along with initiating processes to protect places such as the Thompson Divide from inappropriate energy development. Swift action to protect places that helped shape our nation’s history is critical. Doing so will also ensure a thriving and sustainable economy for our businesses while guaranteeing our shared public lands are protected for current and future generations,” said Shoren Brown (Interim Executive Director, The Conservation Alliance), Louis Geltman (Policy Director, Outdoor Alliance), Richard W. Harper, Jr. (Director of Government Affairs, Outdoor Industry Association), Ben Dodge (Executive Director, 10th Mountain Division Hut Association), Nathan S. Dopp (CEO Americas for Fjallraven and VP FENIX AG), Julie Evans (CEO, Verde Brand Communications), Bill Gamber (President & Co-Founder, Big Agnes Inc.), Brian Holcombe (General Manager, rygr), Tim Koehler (CFO, Backpacker’s Pantry), Jonathan Lantz (President, La Sportiva N.A., Inc.), Ryan Mayo (Owner, Last Exit Goods), Penn Newhard (President, Backbone Media), Eric Raymond (Director of Advocacy, The North Face), and Russell Rowell (EVP/GM Kelty and Sierra Designs).