Camp Hale–Continental Divide National Monument
The First National Monument Designated by President Biden protects Camp Hale, the Tenmile Range, and over 20 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail!
In October 2022, President Biden designated Camp Hale–Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado, marking the first National Monument designation by the administration, on the lands of the Ute people. The designation came after leaders from Colorado, including Senator Bennet, Senator Hickenlooper, Governor Polis, and Representative Neguse, sent a letter to President Biden urging for protections of this area in August, following a visit from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to Camp Hale. This designation includes some of the most treasured landscapes in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains – including over 20 miles of the CDT!
Camp Hale and the Continental Divide landscape are one of four landscapes identified for protections in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act, a piece of legislation that is the result of over a decade of collaboration with Colorado stakeholders. Included in the National Monument designation are the Camp Hale National Historic Site and the surrounding natural landscape, including the Tenmile Range and over 20 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. This section of the 3,100-mile trail that spans from Mexico to Canada acts as a primary habitat and connective corridor for wildlife, as well as a continuous footpath for recreationists and others hoping to explore the scenic ridgeline trail between Leadville and Breckenridge.
A National Monument is a site or landscape protected by a U.S. President by the powers given to them under the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act has been used by 18 presidents, designating over 158 National Monuments across North America since the Act was passed by Congress in 1906. The Antiquities Act gives presidents broad authority to designate national monuments, but only Congress has the power to modify or rescind monuments. The two National Monuments that you can find while traversing the CDT are the El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico and the Camp Hale – Continental Divide National Monument in Colorado.
A National Monument designation in this area adds additional protections to over 20 miles of the CDT! These protections would help ensure a remote, primitive experience for hikers, equestrians, and other recreationists looking for a continuous footpath from Leadville to Breckenridge. In addition to the recreational benefits, this area also serves as a home habitat and migration corridor for many wildlife, making it a critical area for it’s ecological importance to preserve the biodiversity along the Divide.
Co-stewardship is the cooperative action taken to steward an area, recognizing that benefits of a protected landscape span many stakeholders and interests. For example, the cooperative stewardship of the CDT involves the land managing agencies like the Forest Service, nonprofit partners like CDTC, Gateway Communities, volunteer groups, Tribal Governments, private landowners, and many other stakeholders. CDTC supports a cooperative stewardship model because of the potential it has to create an inclusive and representational stewardship of an area that aligns with an environmental justice framework, which has not always been the case with historical, hierarchal systems of management. Co-stewardship is particularly important due to the historical displacement and exclusion from these landscapes, specifically for Indigenous communities who have stewarded these lands for time immemorial.
Camp Hale and the Tenmile range are one of four landscapes identified in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act, in addition to the Curecanti National Recreation Area, the San Juan Mountains, and the Thompson Divide. The Biden administration announced it would provide protections for the Thompson Divide with a 20-year administrative mineral withdrawal. In addition to the National Monument and the mineral withdraw, Colorado leaders also requested special management areas on the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests by using the upcoming U.S. Forest Service plan revisions and other administrative tools.
You can visit the Forest Service website about the National Monument. To learn more, visit coreact.org. You can also assist CDTC’s conservation work by supporting us!
- Read CDTC’s one page summary of the National Monument
- See the White House’s Fact Sheet
- Thank the administration with the CORE Act
Land and Water Conservation Fund
In the last 55 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has benefited countless Americans by protecting our parks, rivers, and trails. And it does so without costing taxpayers a dime – each year, $900 million of revenues from offshore oil and gas leasing are essentially put into a bank account for our public lands.
With LWCF funding, there is hope for the CDT to be completed through lands purchasing.
The Great American Outdoors Act of 2020 ensured permanent funding of LWCF.
Thank you for helping us stand with the CDT and all of our public lands! Please encourage your friends and family to help with the hashtag #completetheCDT.