Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument Fact Sheet

Broads Statement on Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument

Great Old Broads for Wilderness expresses our deep gratitude for the designation of the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument. We want to thank the Biden Administration as well as Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Congressman Neguse, and Governor Polis for their tireless work in making this a reality. Protecting Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range honors Colorado’s legacy of the 10th Mountain Division ski troops and the surrounding mountains where they trained. This national monument designation also helps protect important wildlife habitat in the White River National Forest, which is the most visited national forest in the country. 

Broads’ history of working on protections for these lands dates back over five years. In September 2018, our organization hosted the “Continental Divide Wilderness Broadwalk,” a national event with dozens of attendees from all over the country. This event focused on the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, a bill that proposed several Wilderness areas and additions along the Continental Divide and established Camp Hale as our nation’s first National Historic Landscape. We learned from experts about how historic land preservation parallels the need for wildlands protection. We heard first hand from two 10th Mountain Division WWII soldiers about their experience in the high alpine terrain and their cherished connection to the landscape now. Event attendees left the multi-day event with increased understanding of the value of the area and the skills to advocate for these landscapes and wildlife. 

While this bill was incorporated into the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act in 2019 and subsequently passed the U.S. House numerous times, the legislation has been stalled in the U.S. Senate. Local communities have long supported protections of these landscapes, and they should no longer fall victim to D.C. politics and stalemates. We are grateful that President Biden is stepping up to take action now, using the authority granted by the Antiquities Act. Now the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument will be protected for generations to come. 

Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument Facts

(from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)

On October 12, 2022, President Biden established the 53,804-acre Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, preserving a unique era of military history, as well as a visually and culturally rich landscape with broad recreation opportunities.

The President established the monument on lands managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, using authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.

“Camp Hale and the 10th Mountain Division are unique in our military history. The men and women who served and trained in this beautiful but punishing landscape made sacrifices for our country and made their mark on the history of the free world,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The stunning Camp Hale and Tenmile landscape is a recreation mecca where visitors enjoy alpine hiking, snowmobiling, skiing, camping and more – it is an honored obligation for us to protect this treasured piece of our national heritage.”

“This area was also home to the Ute people long before recorded history, and their unique cultural perspective and historical knowledge is critical to ensuring that we maintain this area’s many priceless characteristics for generations to come,” said Secretary Vilsack.

The national monument designation builds on years of efforts from the descendants of the 10th Mountain Division, Colorado veterans, state and local officials, conservation and outdoor recreation advocates, local business owners, and members of Congress to recognize and preserve this area.

Background:

The peaks and valleys within this monument forged the elite soldiers of the famed 10th Mountain Division – the Army’s first and only mountain infantry division – which helped liberate Europe during World War II. The monument designation preserves the story of 10th Mountain Division veterans who, after their return from World War II, applied their experiences and skills learned in the Camp Hale and Tenmile Range area of the continental divide to help establish America’s skiing industry. They were also trailblazers in conservation, outdoor education and recreation.

The area is also rich in ancient human history. For thousands of years, the Parianuche and Uncompahgre bands of Ute people traveled to the area to reap the bounty of the Eagle River and nearby wetlands and meadows when winter snows melted. The Camp Hale and Tenmile Range area remains culturally important to the Ute people, who return to their homelands to pray, hold ceremonies, honor their ancestors, hunt, fish and harvest plants for medicinal purposes, ceremonial use and basketry.

The area is well known for its outstanding, world class outdoor recreation opportunities, including winter sports like backcountry skiing and snowmobiling as well as year round activities like hunting, fishing, hiking and backpacking. The Tenmile Range contains portions of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and features ten mountain peaks higher than 13,000 feet, including the 14,265 foot Quandary Peak, one of Colorado’s iconic and most visited “Fourteeners.”

The two areas of Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range form a geologically and ecologically linked landscape that includes numerous features of interest, including tarns, waterfalls, alpine tundra, and habitat for rare plants and wildlife.

The establishment of this monument is subject to valid existing rights, including valid existing water and mineral rights. The monument will not affect any permits held by the neighboring ski resorts and will continue to support a wide range of motorized and non-motorized recreation opportunities. The proclamation allows for continued remediation of contaminated lands and for continued avalanche and snow safety management, wildfire response and prevention, and ecological restoration. Laws, regulations and policies followed by the Forest Service in issuing and administering grazing permits on all lands under its jurisdiction shall continue to apply.

The White River National Forest will continue to manage the national monument and will begin developing a monument management plan. There will be many opportunities for public involvement as the monument management plan is developed, including consultation with federally recognized Tribes and engagement with state and local governments. The Forest Service will pursue opportunities to partner on managing the monument to preserve its unique characteristics, including entering into cooperative agreements with Tribes that have cultural ties to the monument.

Since Devils Tower was established as America’s first national monument in 1906, 18 presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect the nation’s unique natural and historic features including iconic places like Alaska’s Admiralty Island National Monument, the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.