Camp Hale is considered the birthplace of Colorado’s ski industry, launched by returning World War II veterans. (Mason Cummings/The Wilderness Society)

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March 1, 2021


LEADVILLE, Colo. — All eyes are on the U.S. Senate after the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, cleared the U.S. House on Friday.

Part of a larger public-lands package, the measure aims to boost Colorado’s outdoor-recreation economy and protect some 400,000 acres of public lands including Camp Hale, where 10th Mountain Division soldiers trained for alpine combat in World War II.

Mike Greenwood, a 10th Mountain Division veteran, trained at Camp Hale before being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I think this is important because it’s taking another giant step towards protecting the land that many veterans, specifically 10th Mountain veterans, hold sacred to them,” Greenwood explained.

If the CORE Act is approved by the U.S. Senate, Camp Hale would be designated as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape.

The site also is known as the birthplace of Colorado’s ski industry, launched by returning war veterans.

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., led the effort in the House to pass a bundle of nine bills including the Colorado Wilderness Act and protections for the Grand Canyon.

If passed, the legislation would get the Biden administration closer to its goal of preserving at least 30% of the nation’s publicly owned lands and waters for future generations by 2030.

Greenwood noted Colorado’s natural landscapes have helped him and countless other returning veterans adjust to civilian life and heal after returning from combat overseas.

“When you’re there, the only thing you can think about is being home,” Greenwood recounted. “This is our image of home when we’re not home. And then when we get home, this is our grounds to come back home, it’s where we find peace.”

The CORE Act also would protect the Continental Divide, Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains, the Thompson Divide, and officially define the boundaries of Curecanti National Recreation Area.

The measure has cleared the U.S. House with broad bipartisan support twice before. The bill is expected to be led by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., in the U.S. Senate.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.