Biden names Colorado’s Camp Hale first national monument of presidency
President Biden on Wednesday afternoon formally announced the designation of Camp Hale, Colo., as a national monument.
The site marks what was once a training ground for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II, including the late Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.). It is the first national monument designation of Biden’s presidency.
“Imagine the courage, the daring and the genuine sacrifice they all made,” Biden said of the 10th, which was instrumental in the Allies’ offensive into Italy’s Apennine Mountains after repeated failed attempts to break German lines. Two surviving veterans of the division were also present at the announcement.
Biden also used the designation to tout the Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan infrastructure law, noting that together they constitute “the largest investment in climate ever, in the history of the world.”
Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation have long lobbied Biden to designate the monument, including Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Rep. Joe Neguse.
Gov. Jared Polis (D) has also been involved in the push. All four were also present at the announcement.
Polis and the members have also called on Biden to issue a Federal Land Policy and Management Act mineral withdrawal for the site, which would bar new mining and oil and gas leasing in the area.
Neguse, Bennet and Hickenlooper have separately introduced legislation to designate Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape and ban new drilling in areas near the state’s Thompson Divide of significance to ranchers and hunters.
Bennet, who has advocated for the designation for over a decade, called it a “historic day” in introductory remarks. “Your designation means more Americans will come to appreciate the extraordinary history of this place, a place that goes back to before when Colorado was a state,” Bennet said, noting its history as a hunting ground for the Ute tribe as well as its military history.
Neguse hailed the announcement in a statement Wednesday.
“For over a decade, Colorado’s mountain and rural communities, small businesses, recreation groups, ranchers and conservationists have worked together in an effort to protect our public lands, honor the legacy of Camp Hale and secure outdoor recreation opportunities,” Neguse said in a statement.