Colorado Out of doors Recreation and Financial system Act supporters make attraction to Biden’s agriculture secretary to take government motion


While passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act remains elusive in the US Senate, advocates of sweeping legislation to protect thousands of acres of state land are not giving up the fight.

And after more than a decade of concentrated effort, there may be an alternative way to break the compatriot: executive action by President Joe Biden.

The bill, which would protect more than 400,000 acres in the Colorado Rockies through a combination of newly designated wilderness areas, recreation management and conservation areas, has passed the US House of Representatives four times.

The bill would designate the Tenmile Recreation Management Area “to conserve, protect and enhance the recreational, landscape, watershed, habitat and ecological resources of the Recreation Management Area for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” the draft law current text. It would also add safeguards to maintain access to Summit County recreation opportunities, “including mountain biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, rock climbing, skiing, camping and hunting,” the bill said.

On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack committed to recommending to Biden that Camp Hale, the U.S. Army’s historic World War II-era training site included in the CORE Act, be designated a national monument after a meeting Tuesday with the federal government recognized, as well as state legislatures and community officials.

U.S. Scythes Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper address the media Tuesday at Camp Hale.
Chris Dillman/Vail Daily

Vilsack traveled to Camp Hale, located between Leadville and Red Cliff, to tour the site at the invitation of Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the CORE Act sponsors, and was joined by Rep. Joe Neguse, Sen. John Hickenlooper and Gov Jared Polis. Following the tour, representatives met with a diverse group of local stakeholders to learn why recognizing and protecting Camp Hale as a national monument is important to the Colorado community and the country as a whole.

Descendants of 10th Mountain Division veterans explained the importance of recognizing the location while camp veterans are still alive. They discussed how important the 10th Mountain Division is to Colorado’s history as it embodies the spirit of the West and sets the framework for the modern ski industry that mountain communities thrive on today.

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper speaks at Camp Hale Tuesday flanked by Rep. Joe Neguse (left) and Gov. Jared Polis.
Chris Dillman/Vail Daily

“Urgency for me is the key takeaway from today’s conversation,” Neguse said. “We have to work this out. We want to get this done while still having the incredible veterans of the 10th Mountain Division with us to share this legacy with them.”

Local government officials, including Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry and Vail Mayor Kim Langmaid, emphasized the direct connection between the history of Camp Hale and the existence of the contemporary Eagle County community. Chandler-Henry also recommended that with increased tourism to the region since the pandemic, it is more important than ever to preserve these historical landmarks so that future visitors can experience and understand their origins.

US Congressman Joe Neguse at a meeting Tuesday on the preservation of Camp Hale.
Chris Dillman/Vail Daily

Conservationists from the Eagle River Watershed Council and the US Forest Service, along with hunters, anglers and ranchers, spoke about the importance of protecting the land for ecological and historical reasons and advocated similar protection for other areas, including the Thompson Divide.

After hearing widespread support for the action, Vilsack commended the joint action displayed at the meeting.

“This was a conversation that involved the whole community, that went through the process of compromise and listening, and it’s all of the things that we talk about in this country that we’d like to see more of,” he said vilsack “People with different interests come together, sit around a table and say, ‘I give, you give, we basically make sure we make progress together.'”

He reiterated that he would bring the recommendation that Camp Hale be made a national monument before Biden and underscored that commitment with a mock speech in which he said exactly what he wanted the President to know about Camp Hale.

Bill Fales, a rancher near Carbondale, speaks about the importance of preserving Colorado’s natural resources during a meeting of federal and state officials for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act Tuesday at Camp Hale.
Chris Dillman/Vail Daily

“Here’s what I’m going to say to Mr. President,” Vilsack said. “I heard an extraordinary example of collaboration and partnership at the Colorado meeting. … I heard that this is a special place. One that literally reflects 8,000 years of heritage. One that reflects the values ​​of the West, which are incredibly important, and I think represents the independent streak we have in this country. From those who fought for our freedom.”

Protection of Camp Hale as a National Historic Site was originally proposed as part of the CORE Act, which would protect over 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado. Although the bill has repeatedly passed the House of Representatives, it has stalled in the Senate. Many at the meeting urged Vilsack and lawmakers to continue to press for passage of the CORE Act, but until that major step can be taken, the urgency of recognition during veterans’ lifetimes necessitated expedited action.

People from all walks of life and industries meet with federal, state and local leaders on Tuesday about how to preserve Camp Hale, near Red Cliff.
Chris Dillman/Vail Daily

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