Recently, we partnered up with Conservation Colorado, Continental Divide Coalition, Veterans Voice, and Wilderness Workshop to organize a hike that would showcase the states efforts to protect and preserve pristine natural areas.
According to Veterans Voice Foundation, local community members of Eagle and Summit counties in Colorado have been coming together to protect public lands. The Continental Divide Wilderness and Recreation Act was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis and would preserve roughly 58,000 acres in Summit and Eagle counties as wilderness and special management areas. As a part of this efforts, Senator Michael Bennet worked on passing legislation that would protect Camp Hale and make it the nation's first National Historic Landscape.
Meet Camp Hale
Camp Hale is rich in history.
Located off of the 10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway north of Leadville, CO, Camp Hale sits in the Eagle River Valley. Little remains at this historic site, a few concrete structures and outlines of foundation where buildings once stood.
At 9,200 ft, the isolated area is where World War II soldiers trained in mountain climbing, skiing, and general cold weather survival before departing for Austria.
Why Camp Hale?
Outside of this place being a unique military training ground, Camp Hale sits in an area that sees hikers and bikers on the Colorado Trail, to families fishing, camping, and climbing. This is why people in the community have been avid about protecting and maintaining the area.
However, many groups don't simply want to protect it because of its history to the Department of Defense and Colorado, they want to clean it up! Due to the fact that Camp Hale was a military training ground, there are hazardous military munitions in the protected area.
First Hand Experience:
My Trail employees are avid outdoor enthusiasts that want to be actively apart of educating and exploring with others in the community. When offered the opportunity to explore this new historic site with the groups mentioned above, our COO, Kale Klontz, jumped at the opportunity. Below is his firsthand experience seeing Camp Hale for the first time.
It is no wonder this area was chosen for it's beauty, and diverse, yet easily accessible recreation opportunities. The area is well used by outdoor enthusiasts year round, and it is remarkable how easy it is to to get lost in nature here, while only minutes from town. Trekking with military veterans, it was a privilege to hear their stories, and see their desires to protect this area.
I am excited for the future efforts of ecological restoration, allowing the Eagle River to once again "meander through the meadow," as well as for signage and education materials to be posted, so anyone at anytime can learn about the history of this area.
For more information on the groups we partnered with or more about the Camp Hale project and area please check these sites: