Bennet, Gardner Historic Parks Bills Receive Committee Hearing

Washington, D.C. – Two Colorado-focused bills, introduced by Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D) and Cory Gardner (R), received a hearing today in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The senators applauded the advancement of the Pike National Historic Trail Study Act and the Amache Study Act and encouraged their passage out of committee.

The Pike National Historic Trail Study Act, led by Bennet, could result in the designation of explorer Zebulon Pike’s route through the American Southwest—including significant stretches in Colorado—as a National Historic Trail. Bennet introduced this legislation in previous Congresses and testified in support of the bill in 2013. A video of Bennet’s testimony is available HERE.

“Two centuries after Zebulon Pike made his journey across the West, it’s time we designate the Pike National Historic Trail,” Bennet said. “This legislation—widely supported by local governments across several states—not only recognizes an American trailblazer and the rich history of the West, but also would boost tourism and provide opportunities for economic development. Today’s hearing is a step in the right direction toward passing this bill and designating the Pike National Historic Trail.”

“Zebulon Pike, the namesake of Pikes Peak, is known throughout Colorado and the West as a trailblazer who explored the country’s new territory following the Louisiana Purchase, and I support cementing his legacy by naming the route he took as the Pike National Historic Trail,” Gardner said. "I know there are many in Colorado who are glad to see this bipartisan bill taking the first step toward becoming law."

The Amache Study Act, led by Gardner, would assess the historical significance of Amache, a former Japanese American relocation center in Granada, and determine the feasibility of the site becoming part of the National Park System. Gardner visited Amache in May to participate in the Annual Amache Pilgrimage.

“I have made multiple visits to Camp Amache during my time in Congress, and each time serves as a stark reminder of a dark moment in our country’s history,” Gardner said. "I am pleased that the committee held a hearing on this bipartisan legislation—it is vital that this historical site be preserved so we may appropriately honor the individuals and their ancestors who live with this legacy and provide us a reminder that we never repeat our grave mistakes from the past."

“The incarceration of Japanese Americans is a shameful part of our history,” Bennet said. “Amache serves as a reminder of that history, and as a reminder that progress is not inevitable. Former Colorado Governor Ralph Carr spoke out against camps like Amache—and lost his political career as a result. The hearing today is progress toward preserving Amache to teach future generations that we cannot ignore what is wrong in the present and must continue Governor Carr’s legacy of standing up to injustice.”