Letter: Support Camp Hale Act
Critical wildlife habitat is disappearing every day. More and more, we are seeing watersheds, wide open spaces and corridors fragmented by development, and this takes a huge toll on the wildlife that depends on these places.
That’s why I am asking Sen. Cory Gardner to co-sponsor the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act. Introduced by Sen. Michael Bennet and Congressman Jared Polis, the Act would create two Wildlife Conservation Areas to protect critical wildlife linkages near Loveland Pass and in the Williams Fork Mountains within the White River National Forest.
In addition, the legislation would also expand five wilderness areas and create three new ones. All of these areas are critically needed to sustain healthy populations of black bear, elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, sage grouse, moose, lynx, wild turkey and even wolverines. The area also serves a migratory route for big game and iconic bird species like the sandhill crane.
The proposal to conserve the Continental Divide and Camp Hale has been years in the making. Congressman Polis and Senator Bennet met with small business owners, mountain bikers, veterans and sportsmen like me to ensure that this was a made-in-Colorado bill. For example, the Act ensures that mountain biking, snowmobiling and other off-road vehicle use remains where it is today, and it specifically protects mountain biking access for the Tenmile Mountains.
As a former Air Force officer, I’m also pleased that this Act preserves the legendary Camp Hale as America’s first National Historic Landscape. This portion of the bill pays tribute to the brave and innovative World War II 10th Mountain Division veterans who helped secure a victory and then returned home to help found Colorado’s world-renowned ski industry.
Once wild habitat is developed, it is very difficult (if not impossible!) to return it to its natural state. The time to pass the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act is now. I urge Senator Gardner to co-sponsor this common-sense legislation.