Camp Hale Named America's Newest National Monument; Public Lands Chairman Neguse: "This treasured landscape will now be protected for generations to come."


Date: Oct. 7, 2022
Location: Lafayette, CO

Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Chair of the National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee, will join President Biden in his district in Eagle County for the President's announcement designating ?Colorado's Camp Hale as the country's newest national monument, and a 20-year mineral withdrawal in the Thompson Divide area. The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument permanently protects the historic sites and public landscapes located in the state's Eagle Valley region. Representative Neguse has championed this designation for several years through the introduction of his bill, the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, which he secured passage of five times in the House of Representatives.

Today's decision from the Biden Administration comes just a month after Rep. Neguse, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis wrote to President Biden requesting he use his Presidential authorities to protect the landscapes included in the CORE Act, including Camp Hale and the Thompson Divide, following a visit from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that Chairman Neguse hosted in Eagle County. The administration is also announcing a proposed 20-year mineral withdrawal for 225,000 acres in the Thompson Divide area to prohibit mining, in response to this letter and broad concerns about protecting the Thompson Divide's important wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, grazing lands and clean air and water.

"For over a decade, Colorado's mountain and rural communities, small businesses, recreation groups, ranchers and conservationists have worked together in an effort to protect our public lands, honor the legacy of Camp Hale and secure outdoor recreation opportunities. Today, I join with all Coloradans in applauding President Biden's decision to name Camp Hale as this country's newest national monument. Today's decision will ensure that this treasured landscape is protected for generations to come," said Congressman Joe Neguse. "Camp Hale has always held a special place in our state's history, from the important role it played globally during World War II to the way in which it helped grow our ski and outdoor recreation industries. And from this point forward, not only will this landscape and treasured public lands be cemented into the American story, but so will the storied history and sacrifices of the 10th Mountain Division."

Camp Hale, which was once a center of mountain and winter warfare training during World War II, now serves as an epicenter for Colorado's outdoor recreation community, attracting countless visitors each year with plentiful opportunities for hiking, fishing, and more. Designating the 53,804-acre national monument as President Biden's first new national monument speaks to the storied and important legacy of the Army's 10th Mountain Division in Colorado and around the world.

"By designating the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument and initiating a withdrawal for the Thompson Divide, President Biden heeded the calls of Coloradans who joined together to protect these important federal lands. Camp Hale, the historic World War II era military site and training grounds along the Continental Divide, has been called the birthplace of the outdoor recreation industry. The Thompson Divide hosts world-class wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities. Coloradans love our shared public lands, which is why nearly 9 out of 10 Coloradans support efforts to protect these places for future generations," said Colorado State Director of the Wilderness Society, Jim Ramey.

"As the daughter of a medic who trained at Camp Hale, I know how meaningful this national monument designation is to the families of the 10th Mountain Division soldiers," said 10th Mountain Division Foundation President, Nancy Kramer."We're so grateful that their legacies will be preserved in this landscape for future generations to learn from and enjoy."

"The Colorado Snowsports Museum is thrilled that Camp Hale is being designated as a National Monument. This designation will forever preserve Camp Hale, meaning future generations will know the significance and legacy of the 10th Mountain Division and the role they played in World War II. This site hopefully will become an outdoor museum in a place where the story will continue to be told," said Executive Director of the Colorado Snowsports Museum, Jennifer Mason.

"This is big! We have been working for over a decade with bi-partisan community supporters for the permanent protection of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide area," said Conservation Colorado CEO, Kelly Nordini. "Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, and Congressman Joe Neguse have done Colorado proud with their leadership to protect these landscapes for generations to come. Thank you President Biden for making this your first, of hopefully many to come, monument designations that protect the places people love and boost local economies."

The Colorado lawmakers proposed the protection of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide landscape as part of the CORE Act in 2019. Representative Neguse has championed the passage of the CORE Act through the House of Representatives five times since being sworn into Congress, most recently in July as part of the FY 23 NDAA. In May 2022, Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper secured the first-ever Senate committee vote on the CORE Act. The bill, which calls for the destination of Camp Hale as the first-ever National Historic Landscape, also includes a measure to honor Sanford Morris "Sandy" Treat Jr. a veteran of the camp by naming an overlook point in his honor. Additionally, the CORE Act includes protections for the Thompson Divide--one of Colorado's most treasured landscapes--by withdrawing over 200,000 acres from future oil and gas development, while preserving existing private property rights for leaseholders and landowners. Through his capacity on the Natural Resources Committee, Representative Neguse has continued to champion this provision, and most recently Rep. Neguse secured inclusion of funding for this provision as part of the House-passed Build Back Better Act.