DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado lawmakers continue to push for a new national monument in the state, at Camp Hale.
Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse and Sens. John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet asked President Joe Biden to make it happen.
The Washington Post is now reporting the president will likely do so.
The 10th Mountain Division of the U.S. Army trained at Camp Hale during World War II. For more than a decade, Colorado lawmakers have been trying to get the site protected as a national monument in the CORE Act.
“We’re hopeful President Biden will see this national monument as a first step leading into all the protections that we’ve worked so hard on over the past decade in the CORE Act,” said Kathy Chandler-Henry, a commissioner in Eagle County.
Some Coloradans have wanted Camp Hale to be protected as a national monument for years, but others are concerned about the way that may finally happen.
Biden may be getting ready to respond to the longtime request of some veterans, lawmakers and residents of Eagle County.
“I feel like am eternally connected to the veterans who trained there starting in November of 1942 until 1945. It’s an incredible connection and every time you go to that land, every time I walk on that valley or walk in the mountains there, I can’t help but feel the energy that surrounds that ground,” said Mike Greenwood, 10th Mountain Division veteran.
Camp Hale bill has already passed the House
The bill passed the U.S. House five times but cannot seem to make it past the Senate. Folks representing the area say now is the time to finally get it done.
“Because of the COVID pandemic, we have seen more people in our Rocky Mountains. That is a wonderful thing but we have to protect our lands to make sure they are not loved to death, not only by Coloradans but other visitors to our great state, and these protections will ensure that,” said state Rep. Julie McCluskie of Summit County.
While Neguse, Bennet and Hickenlooper are urging the President to designate a national monument now, Bennet’s Republican opponent Joe O’Dea would prefer the decision not come from the president.
“Just like other natural treasures in Colorado that Congress acted to protect in a bipartisan manner, Joe O’Dea wants to use his seat in the Senate to work a bill through the same process and get it signed into law by the President — not seek to have these designations made through an executive order. The Coloradans who live in these areas deserve to have their voices heard through their elected representatives in Congress,” said Kyle Kohli, communications director for O’Dea.
Colorado lawmakers are asking the president to make this happen using the Antiquities Act. If the president does so, this would be his first national monument designation as president.