Bennet, Polis Introduce Bill to Protect Colorado’s Continental Divide and Preserve Camp Hale Legacy

Washington, D.C. - Ahead of this week's Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO-2) introduced the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act.

"As outdoor recreation leaders from around the country gather in Denver this week, I can think of no better way to affirm Colorado's commitment to public lands than with the introduction of our bill," Bennet said. "This legislation reflects the voices of local community leaders, sportsmen, veterans, and others who sat down with us to find common ground for the management and protection of public lands along the Continental Divide. It reminds us not only to protect public land, but also to preserve its history, which is why the National Historic Landscape designation of Camp Hale is so important. Future generations will be able to ski and hike the same terrain as the veterans who created our outdoor industry-who laid the foundation for our state to host the Outdoor Retailer Show just decades later. I look forward to working with Congressman Polis to advance this legislation in Congress."

"The Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act expands protected public lands in Colorado by designating over 90,000 acres as Wilderness Areas, Recreation Management Areas, and Wildlife Conservation areas," Polis said. "It means safeguarding fishing, hiking, biking, hunting, horseback riding, and backcountry sports, and it also means protecting the Colorado economy and preserving the Colorado environment for generations to come. With Sen. Bennet by my side, we can pass the bill, and Colorado can be an example for the nation on how to conserve the epic public land that we all share and cherish."

Bill Background:

The Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act would establish permanent protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation, and conservation areas in the White River National Forest along Colorado's Continental Divide. Among other measures, the bill would create three new wilderness areas while expanding three existing ones, protect Colorado's only migration corridor over Interstate 70, and secure access to outdoor recreation in the Tenmile Range.

The bill also would designate the first-ever National Historic Landscape around Camp Hale to preserve and promote the 10th Mountain Division's storied legacy. The 10th Mountain Division that trained at Camp Hale led our nation to victory in World War II and then went on to create the outdoor industry, as we know it today. This designation would ensure the historic preservation of Camp Hale, secure existing recreational opportunities, and protect ecological resources with continued cleanup and restoration efforts.

County Support:

"We applaud this bill for balancing the needs of wildlife and watershed protection with recreational and other uses of the forest, and that our water providers, conservation groups, recreational groups, and businesses have been included in this collaborative legislative process," said the Eagle County Board of Commissioners. "The addition of the Camp Hale National Historic Landscape will help to preserve and highlight this incredible piece of history and the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division in Eagle County."

"Summit County supports this effort to protect our public lands, for our citizens and for Colorado's future success," said Dan Gibbs, Summit County Commissioner. "Summit County receives millions of visitors every year, and our federally protected public lands, including designated Wilderness areas, contribute significantly to the local economy and quality of life for our visitors and citizens alike. We appreciate that these areas in particular were crafted to manage not only for wildlife habitat and recreation, but also to meet the needs of water providers, fire management, and potential future infrastructure needs."

"We appreciate this continued support of the citizens and visitors of Grand County through this legislation to allow the National Park Service to continue educational programming at Trail River Ranch, at the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park," said Merrit Linke, Grand County Commissioner.