Camp Hale, a World War II training site set among the rolling landscape of Colorado, has been designated as the newest national monument by President Joe Biden.
The 50,000 acres of Camp Hale and the neighboring Tenmile Range are now under federal protection from drilling, mining, and other development. It is the first new monument designated during Biden’s presidency.
“When you think about the natural beauty of Colorado and the history of our nation, you find it here,” said Biden, according to the Huffington Post. “Soaring peaks and steep canyons. Black bears, bald eagles, moose, mountain lions, waterfalls, pristine rivers, alpine lakes, the scent of wildflowers at the right time of the year, and the stunning backdrop of ski slopes and iconic trails. These treasured lands tell the story of America.”
Camp Hale And Tenmile
The designated area is split into two distinct areas.
Camp Hale is located between Leadville and Red Cliff, bordered by several ski areas — Copper Mountain, Vail Resort, and Ski Cooper.
The Tenmile area is about 8 miles to the east and includes the Tenmile mountain range and a stretch of the Continental Divide. It is also bordered by ski areas, including Hoosier Pass and Breckenridge, along with the town of Frisco.
Camp Hale is where the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division trained soldiers to ski and rock climb prior to deployment in Italy during World War II. It was shuttered in 1965.
Colorado officials have fought for years to get protections for the area.
“With every passing year, there are fewer World War II veterans who trained at Camp Hale left to tell their story, which is why it is so important that we protect this site now,” Senator Michael Bennet said in a statement.
The land was part of the Ute Tribes before they were pushed out in the 1800s. They were included in the ceremony and pleased at the protections the designation will provide for the land.
“This was a homeland for survival,” Ute chairman Melvin Baker told the Colorado Sun. “If you look at it today how beautiful it is and think hundreds of years back when our Ute people roamed these mountains in peace. There was no pressure, nothing. And they left it as it is.
“I feel like today is a game-changer and we can do more in the future.”
Not many remain among those who trained at Camp Hale during World War II, but the designation is important to them, one veteran said.
“I found nothing but solace, nothing but relief and peace here in these surrounding hills around Camp Hale,” Brad Noone, a 10th Mountain Division veteran, told Outside magazine. “I always tell people that these lands, specifically right here around Camp Hale, they act as my therapist, my gym, my church, and my playground.”
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