Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes, Ranchers, Business Owners, Veterans’ Advocates, Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Advocates Voice Support for Executive Action to Protect Landscapes In the CORE Act
Denver — Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet delivered more than a dozen new letters from the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Tribes, ranchers, business owners, veterans’ advocates, and conservation and outdoor recreation champions urging President Joe Biden to use his Presidential authorities, including the Antiquities Act, to protect key landscapes included in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act and make Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range a national monument.
Bennet – alongside Colorado U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper, Colorado Governor Jared Polis, and Colorado U.S. Representative Joe Neguse – continues to urge Biden to use the Antiquities Act to designate Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range as a national monument. Last month, Bennet delivered dozens of letters from Coloradans to Biden urging executive action to protect landscapes in the CORE Act. The letters were signed by Colorado veterans, state and local officials, conservation and outdoor recreation advocates, business owners, and descendants of the 10th Mountain Division. Coloradans, like Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman and Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry, continue to urge the president in the Colorado Times Recorder, Colorado Newsline, Colorado Sun, Aspen Times, Vail Daily, Denver Post, and other local media outlets to protect landscapes in the CORE Act.
Bennet delivered letters to President Biden from:
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Southern Ute Indian Tribe
Bill Fales and Marj Perry (Cold Mountain Ranch, Permittee on the North Thompson 4 Mile, Allotment and the Coal Basin Allotment), Tom Harrington (Crystal River Ranch, Permittee on the South Thompson Allotment), Marty Nieslanik (Nieslanik Beef, Permittee on the Coal Basin Allotment), and Ian Carney (Two Shoes Ranch, Permittee on the West Sopris Allotment).
Huts for Vets
State and Local Officials
Mayors Kim Langmaid (Town of Vail, Colorado, on behalf of the Vail Town Council), Jonathan Godes (City of Glenwood Springs, Colorado), and Ben Bohmfalk (Town of Carbondale, Colorado).
City Administrator Laurie Simonson (City of Leadville, Colorado).
County Manager Tim Bergman (Lake County, Colorado).
County Commissioners Sarah Mudge and Jeff Fielder (Lake County, Colorado).
Tourism Director Adam Ducharme (Lake County, Colorado).
Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Groups
Eagle River Watershed Council, Monumental SHIFT Coalition [Bennae Calac Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO), Jose’ G. Gonzalez National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), and Nuestra Tierra Conservation project], Outdoor Alliance [Access Fund, American Canoe Association, American Alpine Club, American Whitewater, Colorado Mountain Club, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Surfrider Foundation, the Mazamas, The Mountaineers, and Winter Wildlands Alliance], Thompson Divide Coalition, The Next 100 Coalition, and the Sierra Club.
Absolute Bikes Inc., Alpacka Raft, Basecamp Co-Pack, Conatus Counsel, Durango Outdoor Exchange, Grappa Fine Wine & Spirits, Leadvelo Bicicasa, Pagosa Mountain Sports, Rabbit Ears Motel, Rocky Mountain Day Hikes, Ruby Blues, Sagebrush BBQ & Grill, Subculture Cyclery, Singletrack Trails, SkyRidersRanchita, Trouts Fly Fishing, Two Dog Travel, and Women's Empowerment Workshop.
Here’s what the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and Southern Ute Indian Tribe are saying:
“The Tribe believes it is very important to protect Colorado’s cultural and natural resources, landscapes, watersheds, and numerous other environmental qualities, and national monuments are well-suited to provide such protections. Further, consistent with the model for monument management at the Bear Ears National Monument, the Tribe encourages you to mandate that Tribal representatives sit on advisory boards and other relevant, decision-making bodies. Designating these valuable places as national monuments will not only preserve them for the enjoyment of future generations, but will also allow a greater understanding of the history of these places and the value they have for Coloradans. The designation will serve the best interests of all citizens,” said Manuel Heart, Chairman, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe.
“On behalf of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe ("Tribe"), I am writing to show our strong support of the efforts being undertaken by Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, Rep. Joseph Neguse, and Gov. Jared Polis to declare the area around Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range in the State of Colorado a National Monument,” said Melvin J. Baker, Chairman, Southern Ute Indian Tribal Council.
Here’s what a Colorado group supporting veterans and active-duty service members is saying:
“I am the founder and former Executive Director of Huts for Vets, a Colorado non-profit that for ten years has been providing wilderness therapy to help US military men and women veterans adjust to and enjoy civilian life by gaining tools for enhancing mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. To further our mission, I urge you to preserve and protect our public lands through the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act (CORE) Act. Nature immersion on public lands and in wilderness areas is an important part of many veterans’ recovery and return to civilian life. Huts for Vets operates exclusively on public lands, and participants tell us that the healing and restoration within these landscapes is unmatched, so there is no better reason to conserve them than for veterans who have given their all in service to our country. An important component of the CORE Act is the designation of Camp Hale--the 10th Mountain Division’s historic training site--as the nation’s first-ever National Historic Landscape. Protecting Camp Hale is an important way to honor the contributions of veterans who served during World War II. Please endorse the CORE Act and empower this important conservation measure. Our veterans will thank you with their support,” said Paul Andersen, Founder, Huts for Vets.
Here’s what state and local officials are saying:
“On behalf of the Town of Vail Colorado, we urge you to utilize 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 Kim Langmaid, Vail, Colorado (on behalf of the Vail Town Council).
“In 2015, the Mayor of Glenwood Springs, on behalf of the City Council, joined leaders from other local communities in signing a letter to BLM reiterating “the need to conserve certain public lands in the Thompson Divide” and stating that: “our communities have long supported a legislative solution to address conflicts that exist in the Thompson Divide area.” We continue that support today and urge executive action to help protect this special place, and we specifically encourage you to implement a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the Thompson Divide under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act. We additionally remain supportive of passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act,” said Mayor Jonathan Godes, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
“For over a decade, the Town of Carbondale Trustees and citizens of Carbondale have consistently supported conservation of public lands in the Thompson Divide, a landscape that is critical to our local economy, home to valuable wildlife habitat and incredible recreational opportunities, and supports some of the oldest ranching operations in the region. We continue that support today and urge executive action to help protect this special place, and we specifically encourage you to implement a 20-year mineral withdrawal for the Thompson Divide under the Federal Lands Policy and Management Act. We additionally remain supportive of passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act,” said Mayor Ben Bohmfalk, Carbondale, Colorado.
"The City of Leadville, with a population of 2,731 people, is a small but tough community located at the top of the Rocky Mountains. I write today to support your designation of Colorado's Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range as the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument. Leadville and Lake County’s economies are largely dependent on our adjacent public lands, and the protection of these natural places, such as the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, is key to maintaining our outdoor recreation and tourism economies. Therefore, the City of Leadville respectfully thank you for your action to bring permanent protections to Camp Hale and the surrounding landscapes," said Laurie Simonson, City Administrator, Leadville, Colorado.
“Lake County is located in central Colorado, with a population of 7,436 people. We write today urging your use of the Antiquities Act to designate Colorado's Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range as the Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument. As a component of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act, this National Monument effort stands alongside additional opportunities to protect our public lands within the Thompson Divide and the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests,” said Adam Ducharme (Lake County Tourism Director), Tim Bergman (Lake County Manager), and Sarah Mudge and Jeff Fielder (Lake County Commissioners).
Here’s what conservation and outdoor recreation groups are saying:
“We are writing in strong support of Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Governor Polis, and Representative Neguse’s effort to secure protections for portions of the CORE Act through executive action, specifically their work to protect the Thompson Divide. Our board consists of ranchers, community leaders, small business owners, recreationists, mountain bikers and farmers with deep connections to the Thompson Divide area established over generations. Because we understand how important the Thompson Divide is for the families and community that live, work, and play here, we have spent over a decade seeking protection of public lands in the Thompson Divide in the form of a federal mineral withdrawal. Protecting the Thompson Divide remains critical to sustaining livelihoods in our rural communities; hunting, fishing, ranching, and recreation in the Thompson Divide area support nearly 300 jobs and $30 million in annual economic output for our communities,” said Jason Sewell, President, Thompson Divide Coalition Board of Directors (on behalf of Alex DeGolia (Vice President), Clare Bastable (Secretary), Mike Pritchard (Treasurer), Curtis Kaufman, Ian Carney, and Chuck Ogilby).
“The Monumental SHIFT Coalition is writing in support of Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument designations submitted by Congressional Leadership and the Governor of the State of Colorado. Monumental SHIFT is a coalition rooted in ethnically and racially diverse leadership transforming the traditional creation, conception, funding, and stewardship of national monuments in the United States in order to better represent and honor lands and places sacred to the communities which we represent. The support demonstrated in communities across Colorado and the urgency by which Colorado leaders are advocating for this designation are clear examples of the urgent action needed at this moment. We would like to add our voice to encourage the Biden Administration to support this designation of what we hope will be many National Monuments to be established and continue the pursuit of a more inclusive, equitable outdoors for all,” said the Monumental SHIFT Coalition (Bennae Calac Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC), Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF), Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting and the Outdoors (HECHO), Jose’ G. Gonzalez National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), and Nuestra Tierra Conservation project).
“The Next 100 Coalition is writing today to share our support for Camp Hale - Continental Divide National Monument and to urge President Biden and his administration to take immediate action to protect this Colorado landscape. 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 support progress toward the ambitious goals of the 30 x 30 and America the Beautiful initiatives,” said Teresa Ana Martinez, Chair, Board of Directors, The Next 100 Coalition.
“Eagle River Watershed Council (ERWC) is writing in support of the designation of Camp Hale as a National Monument. Our mission is to advocate for the health of the Eagle River, and we believe that this is a tremendous step toward protecting the headwaters of such a critical and stunning river. We applaud your decision to protect the area’s iconic landscape,” said James Dilzell and Tom Allender, Executive Director and Board President, Eagle River Watershed Council.
“The outdoor recreation community has worked for years to develop and advance the CORE Act’s vision and to support its enactment through the CORE Act and Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act. We support your efforts and agree that Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range are entirely appropriate for protection as a national monument. We further support efforts to protect the Thompson Divide through a mineral withdrawal and advance the vision of the 2 CORE Act through the Grand Mesa-Uncomphagre-Gunnison forest planning process. As outdoor recreationists passionate about the protection of the natural landscapes where we enjoy our varied pursuits, we strongly support the thoughtful protections embodied in the CORE Act. In addition to its essential protections for conservation values, the bill also protects hundreds of miles of trails, scores of climbing sites, more than 20 miles of whitewater paddling opportunities, and valued backcountry ski terrain,” said Louis Geltman, Policy Director, Outdoor Alliance.
“On behalf of the Sierra Club and our millions of members and supporters, I am writing to urge you to use the powers granted under the Antiquities Act to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado. This designation would safeguard some of the state’s most iconic, historic, and ecologically significant public lands while bolstering the region’s ample outdoor recreation opportunities and local economies and contribute to your administration’s goal to protect 30% of lands and waters by 2030,” said Loren Blackford, Acting Executive Director, Sierra Club.
Here’s what ranchers and business owners are saying:
“We, the ranchers most directly involved in and affected by any actions for the Thompson Divide, write in support of our Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper, Governor Polis, and Representative Neguse’s effort to secure protections for public lands that are part of the CORE Act through executive action. For over a decade we, along with other members of the local ranching, farming, and agricultural community, have sought protection in the form a federal mineral withdrawal for the public lands of Thompson Divide. These lands provide the federal grazing allotments which are a vital component of our ranching operation of our ranches. The local ranching and agriculture community have been virtually unanimous in our desire to see the Thompson Divide protected,” said Bill Fales and Marj Perry (Cold Mountain Ranch, Permittee on the North Thompson 4 Mile Allotment and the Coal Basin Allotment), Tom Harrington (Crystal River Ranch, Permittee on the South Thompson Allotment), Marty Nieslanik (Nieslanik Beef, Permittee on the Coal Basin Allotment), and Ian Carney (Two Shoes Ranch, Permittee on the West Sopris Allotment).
“As business owners along the Continental Divide and throughout Colorado, we see the impacts of these lands and waters every day on our communities, our business, and our way of life. We are a diverse group of businesses, ranging from the outdoor recreation industry and the service industry to mom-and-pop restaurants and grocers, and we embrace people exploring the great outdoors and enjoying the public lands in our communities. The Antiquities Act has been used over 150 times throughout the history of this nation to establish and expand national monuments, resulting in protected landscapes that have become universally revered symbols of America the Beautiful. These protected places enrich our culture, boost our local economies, and sustain healthy habitat for wildlife,” said a group of 52 businesses from Buckhorn, Buena Vista, Carbondale, Denver, Durango, Grand Lake, Eagle, Estes Park, Frisco, Leadville, Littleton, Fort Collins, Pagosa Springs, Poncha Springs, Salida, Steamboat Springs, and Vail.