Preserving Camp Hale and other public lands for future generations

During a recent visit to the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, I learned that at the end of World War II in 1945, the United States had 89 divisions of the army deployed in addition -sea, of which 68 in Europe: 47 infantry, 16 armored vehicles, four airborne and one mountain – the 10th Mountain Division.

Many Colorado residents know that the 10th Mountain Division was activated at Camp Hale, Colorado, on July 10, 1943. From November 1942 to June 1944, Camp Hale housed some 15,000 soldiers (with 4,000 mules and 250 dog dogs). sleigh) of the 10th Mountain Division. , who learned to rock climb, perform military maneuvers on skis, and endure brutal weather in preparation for mountain warfare. Over 18 grueling months, soldiers trained to fight at high altitudes.

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In February 2021, the United States House of Representatives passed the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act – HR 803 – which aims to preserve some 3 million acres across Colorado, California, Washington and Arizona. The legislation is a set of nine separate public land bills that the House approved last year, including Representative Diana DeGette’s Colorado Wilderness Act (CWA) and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. by Representative Joe Neguse.

The CORE Act would protect Camp Hale by creating the first-ever National Historic Landscape, preserving nearly 29,000 acres around Camp Hale, located 17 miles north of Leadville. CORE would also boost the state’s outdoor recreation economy, which recently generated some $ 12.2 billion (total outdoor recreation value added) and $ 6.4 billion in wages and salaries. A 2018 poll found that 96% of Coloradans see the outdoor recreation industry as important to the state’s economic future.

Additionally, Colorado College’s 2021 Western Conservation Survey found that 81% of Colorado residents support a national goal of protecting 30% of the land and oceans of the United States by 2030. As As most hunters and fishermen know from experience, nature conservation is the gold standard for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife. On August 31, President Biden issued a proclamation declaring September 2021 to be National Nature Month.

“During National Nature Month, let’s strengthen our connection to America’s wilderness areas, support their designation and protection, and work to preserve the stories they tell, the memories they create and the heritage they reflect for all Americans for generations to come, ”the proclamation said.

Unfortunately, two of the United States House representatives from Colorado are misinformed about the positive economic and other impacts of the wilderness. Republican Representative Doug Lamborn mistakenly said the bill “would go against local economies” and “pose a threat to … local economies.” Meanwhile, Republican Representative Lauren Boebert called the bill a “Democratic land grab.”

The CORE Act is the result of a decade-long collaborative process, mobilizing the contribution of counties, businesses, ranchers, outdoor recreation groups, environmentalists and athletes to protect – through various designations – our shared public lands. Plus, as DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, said of the Colorado Wilderness Act: “It was checked, it was revised, it was revised again. He has strong reasons for the designation… and he enjoys strong local support.

As a result, CWA / CORE / HR 803 – like the 10th Mountain Division – lives on. After a few interruptions, the 10th was reactivated in 1985 at Fort Drum, New York, and since then its troops have been deployed to Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Afghanistan. No matter where they are based, members of the 10th honor their Alpine heritage by retaining the Mountain label on their sleeve badge.

HR 803 will help protect and perpetuate our strong outdoor recreation economy and our hunting and fishing heritage by ensuring that some of our great public realms remain intact for present and future generations. Plus, it honors our World War II veterans, America’s greatest generation. Join Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in thanking those representatives who supported the passage of HR 803 by the House and encourage your Senators to follow suit.

About Eleanor Blackburn

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