President Biden Likely to Declare New National Monument at Camp Hale in Colorado: Report

by Sean Griffin

President Joe Biden will likely designate a historic military site, Camp Hale, in Colorado as a new national monument in the coming weeks. This move would be doubly strategic, as it could also ban mining and drilling in the area.

Colorado’s Camp Hale is a World War II-era military training ground along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains and the Tenmile Range. This region attracts visitors for its jaw-dropping views, and it provides habitat for wildlife including elk, bears, otters, mountain lions, and migratory birds.

Biden hasn’t created a national monument during his tenure. The designation would bypass Capitol Hill, where Republicans and Democrats remain gridlocked over most legislation.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) faces a tough reelection contest, and he’s been calling on Biden to permanently designate and protect this area and other historic sites.

Biden officially designating the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument could happen soon.

Apparently, however, no final decisions have been made on the matter.

During World War II, Camp Hale served as training grounds for the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. The area housed up to 17,000 troops. At an elevation of 9,200 feet, the site was ideal for training in skiing, snowshoeing and rock climbing. All skills that soldiers used to defeat Axis powers in Italy.

Additionally, after the war, some of the same soldiers who labored at what they called “Camp Hell” returned to the region. There, they helped launch Colorado’s booming ski industry.

Bennet has urged Biden to protect the area by using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president wide latitude to safeguard public lands and waters for the enjoyment of all Americans. The senator spoke to the president about issue on Tuesday.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet Lobbies Pres. Biden to Declare Camp Hale as National Monument

Bennet’s race has attracted national attention as it affects Democrats’ tiny majority in the Senate. His Republican opponent Joe O’Dea believes that Trump lost the 2020 election, whereas top GOP candidates in other states haven’t expressed that view.

White House spokespeople declined to comment to The Washington Post about the monument, and so did’s Bennet’s office.

Biden has used his executive powers to restore full protections to three national monuments, including Utah’s Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Biden invoked the Antiquities Act to protect 1.36 million acres in Bears Ears —which is slightly larger than the original boundary that President Barack Obama established in 2016. Additionally, Biden restored the 1.87 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante monument. Biden also reimposed fishing limits in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument that had previously been opened up for commercial fishing by former President Donald Trump.

It’s unclear how much area the new national monument would cover. Bennet and other Colorado Democrats have an idea, though. They’ve introduced a bill that gives recommendations for the monument’s size and borders.

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act would protect more than 400,000 acres of public lands. This includes 28,676 acres surrounding Camp Hale and 17,122 acres in the Tenmile Range.