President Biden designates his first national monument: Camp Hale-Continental Divide
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New federal protection for public lands in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains commemorates veterans of Army’s 10th Mountain Division
DENVER – President Joe Biden on Wednesday designated the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument as the first new national monument of his presidency. This classification will protect 53,804 acres in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Local stakeholders, including veterans, hunters, anglers, county commissioners, mayors, conservation nonprofits and business owners, have called for the creation of this national monument for several years.
The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will preserve a former army base, Camp Hale, which is well known by modern Coloradans for its rugged terrain which hosts stunning hikes and snow sports. In addition to visiting outdoor recreationists, elk, bears, lynx, migratory songbirds and many other animal species inhabit this land. Camp Hale’s new designation also commemorates the legacy of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which trained there for a decisive, winning battle against Axis forces in World War II.
This designation will also protect the area surrounding Colorado’s Continental Divide from new mining and oil drilling leases. Because the Continental Divide plays a prominent role in providing water to the Western U.S., this should protect much of the West’s waning water supply from pollution. President Biden also announced a proposed 20-year ban on new mining leases for the Thompson Divide, an area in western Colorado.
Ellen Montgomery, Public Lands Campaign director with Environment America Research & Policy Center, issued the following statement:
“We’re thrilled to celebrate President Biden’s first national monument and look forward to celebrating more. Camp Hale-National Divide is a perfect monument – amazing scenery, plentiful wildlife, important national historical significance and tied to Colorado’s thriving ski industry. Thanks to Senators Bennet and Hickenlooper for all of their hard work to make this happen and for protecting more nature for Americans.”
Sammy Herdman, campaign associate with Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center, issued the following statement:
“Colorado is full of unique, beautiful landscapes. By enacting strong protections for our public lands, we ensure that future generations will have access to pristine, natural environments for years to come. The many Coloradans who have advocated for the Camp Hale-Continental Divide designation – including 10th Mountain Division veterans who remember training at Camp Hale – have reason to celebrate today. We look forward to President Biden’s next monument designation.