Letter to the Editor: We need to protect the degrading Camp Hale by making it a national monument | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: We need to protect the degrading Camp Hale by making it a national monument

Ted A. Behar

Recently, I took a historical tour of Camp Hale, which was previewed in Summit Daily News on Sept. 25, and learned about the incredible bravery, grit and resilience of the 10th Mountain Division during World War II.

Walking through the remains of the camp, field house and rifle range while imagining thousands of men, mules and equipment and the challenging conditions they trained and fought in gave me a clearer understanding of mountaineering skills they took to the Italian alps to defeat the German army. What they endured, their love for the mountains and the legacy they left make Camp Hale are deserving of national monument status. I urge President Biden to help create the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, including the Tenmile Range. 

Seeing the camp in a sad state of disrepair and neglect calls for appropriations to go with the designation. Artifacts and landmarks are unprotected and continue to degrade. The surrounding landscapes where the troops trained are being denigrated and disrespected by damaging behavior like metal detection (with artifact loss) and illegal off-road vehicle use. Funding would help the U.S. Forest Service upgrade the eroded interpretive signs, repair roads, help maintain the legal recreational trails and safeguard the resource.

National monument status for Camp Hale and the Tenmile Range would also protect wildlife habitat and migration corridors. Our veterans, our heritage and our natural resources deserve this protection. Biden should also use his administrative authority to help protect the Thompson Divide area with a temporary, 20-year mineral withdrawal. It makes sense as we shift away from dirty oil and gas energy, to protect this untouched wildlife area and water resource. 

I whole heartedly support the establishment of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. If you agree, let the president know by signing the petition at COReact.org

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