Munitions find closes 3,000 acres of Camp Hale |

Munitions find closes 3,000 acres of Camp Hale

Unexploded munitions recently discovered at Camp Hale have prompted U.S. Forest Service officials to close almost 3,000 acres of the historic park to motorized entry.

The public can still travel through the area by nonmotorized means as long as they stay on designated trails, which include the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Ranch Creek Road, East Fork Road and Old Highway 24.

In mid-September, Army Corps of Engineers and Forest Service employees discovered four unexploded rifle grenades and shape charges, according to Holy Cross district ranger Cal Wettstein. In addition, a hunter found an anti-tank rocket in the area on Sept. 23.

An explosive ordnance detachment disposed of the munitions.

“Based on the continued discovery of these munitions, we are prohibiting motorized travel in this 2,800-acre area,” said Wettstein.

Camp Hale was closed for eight months in 2000-2001 when four live grenades were discovered. This most recent closure will stay in effect until the area is deemed safe. Wettstein said this may take up several years, until the Army Corps of Engineers can get funding to remove any remaining live ammunition that may still be in or on the ground.

“These items can be extremely hazardous, even after being in the ground for 50 years,” he said. “If a closure order is the only way we can keep people safe on Camp Hale, then that is what we have to do.”

Camp Hale was an intensive military training post from the 1940s to the 1960s.

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