Forest Service Removes Asbestos at Camp Hale
For commuters and visitors, there may be a noticeable increase in activity around the Camp Hale area located off Highway 24 West of Leadville, as officials move forward with the removal of widespread asbestos.
According to reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), these operations in partnership with the White River National Forest, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be conducted as a Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA) as part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to remove widespread asbestos found in the area within Eagle County.
The project is located on the valley floor of Camp Hale on the east side of U.S. Highway 24, approximately six miles north of Tennessee Pass. The National Forest System Roads (NFSR) in the immediate vicinity of the project include NFSR 716 (Camp Hale Road), NFSR 714 (East Fork Road), NFSR 708 (McAllister Gulch Road), and NFSR 702 (Resolution Creek Road). During the cleanup project, roads will remain open to the maximum extent possible, within the limits of public safety.
The USACE and contractor personnel will be using both hand removal and heavy excavation equipment for removing asbestos in the restricted project area and disposing removed material at a qualified landfill in Denver, CO.
As many Leadville Today readers may know, Camp Hale was a former high elevation Army training facility during World War II. In the 1960’s, a number of buildings were demolished when Camp Hale was returned to the U.S. Forest Service. Today, the source of asbestos contamination is from deteriorating pieces of remnant building materials that remain onsite. The presence of asbestos in Camp Hale was confirmed in the fall of 2012. Soon thereafter, the Forest Service enacted two “special order closures” of contaminated areas in order to protect the public’s health and safety, and began working with the USACE to develop a plan of action to cleanup areas of asbestos-contaminated soil.
“The asbestos cleanup actions will help ensure that the natural beauty and military history of Camp Hale are available for all visitors to safely discover, enjoy, and honor for decades to come,” said Aaron Mayville, Eagle-Holy Cross District Ranger.
The U.S. Forest Service asks that all visitors to Camp Hale abide by the special orders that are currently in effect related to restricted areas in Camp Hale. Maps of these areas are available on the website for the White River National Forest here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.
The Forest Service and the USACE also ask that members of the public stay out of any area actively being worked by cleanup crews. These areas will be cordoned off with orange construction fencing. Cleanup crews will be wearing full protective suits for their own personal safety.
The public may access general information related to this project and historical information at the Holy Cross Ranger Station, 24747 U.S. Highway 24 Minturn, CO 81645. For further information, please contact Matt Klein, Realty Specialist, Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District 970-827-5182 or firstname.lastname@example.org .