Legislation Would Protect Over 400,000 Acres of Public Land in Colorado Including Camp Hale to Celebrate Our Nation’s Military History
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse urged the leaders of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee (HASC) to include the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act in the final Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The CORE Act would designate 73,000 acres of new wilderness, nearly 80,000 acres of new recreation and wildlife conservation management areas, and expand protections for more than 200,000 acres in the Thompson Divide,” wrote Hickenlooper, Bennet, and Neguse in their letter to SASC Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.), SASC Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), HASC Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and HASC Ranking Member Mike Rodgers (R-Ala.). “Most notably, the CORE Act celebrates our nation’s military by establishing the nation’s first ever National Historic Landscape at Camp Hale. This designation would ensure that future generations learn about the 10th Mountain Division’s storied history and experience the landscape where the famed “Soldiers on Skis” trained before leading our nation to victory during World War II.”
The CORE Act — which would protect over 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado and boost the state’s outdoor economy — passed the House as an amendment to the House’s version of the NDAA in September. Hickenlooper and Bennet filed the CORE Act as an amendment to the Senate version of the NDAA. The Senate is debating the NDAA this week. The bill will then head to conference with the U.S. House of Representatives.
The lawmakers concluded: “After years of collaboration, careful consultation, and negotiation, the CORE Act enjoys the full support of seven counties, 12 cities and towns, the State of Colorado, and countless outdoor businesses, sportsmen, conservation, and recreation organizations. Given the broad support for this bill in our state, we urge you to include the CORE Act in the final FY22 NDAA.”
The full text of the letter is available HERE.
Bennet and Neguse introduced the comprehensive CORE Act for the first time in January 2019, following years of work in Colorado to develop, draft, and negotiate the four individual titles in the bill. The CORE Act combines four previously introduced Colorado public land bills, which have been in development over the past decade: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
In January 2021, Hickenlooper, Bennet, and Neguse reintroduced the CORE Act in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
In February 2021, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced that the Biden Administration supports the CORE Act during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
In June 2021, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on the CORE Act in the Subcommittee on Public Lands, Forests, and Mining, where Hickenlooper participated. Bennet testified before the subcommittee in support of the bill.
Of the land protected by the bill, about 73,000 acres are designated as new wilderness, and nearly 80,000 acres are designated as new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. The bill also includes a first-of-its-kind designation for Camp Hale as a National Historic Landscape, to honor World War II veterans and Colorado’s military legacy, and prohibits new oil and gas development in areas important to ranchers and sportsmen in the Thompson Divide.
The CORE Act is supported by a broad coalition of counties, cities, towns, local leaders, conservation groups, sportsmen, and a wide range of outdoor businesses.
The following CORE Act resources are available below:
See frequently asked questions, maps, letters of support, and more at www.bennet.senate.gov/COREAct.