CORE, Issues Discussed at Town Hall Meeting
While registered voters will still see his name on the Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary Election Ballot which recently hit Lake County mailboxes, Colorado’s US Senator Michael Bennet is now making the rounds in person after officially dropping out of the national race on February 11. And this Saturday, Feb. 22 he’ll be making a stop in Leadville at high noon. Voters are encouraged to attend the Leadville Town Hall Meeting via the Event Brite application which will be held at the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum on W. 9th Street.
“I invite you to join me for a town hall this Saturday, Feb. 22, in Leadville for a discussion on the issues that matter most to you,” state the US Senator. No doubt one of the topics Bennet will be discussing is his cornerstone piece of legislation, the CORE Act which would designate Camp Hale as the first-ever National Historic Landscape. While none of the Act’s designated lands fall within the boundaries of Lake County, its geographical proximity and historical significance are relevant to Leadville’s unique connection to Camp Hale (MAP).
While the Senator considers it a way to protect and honor the land once used as battleground training for the Tenth Mountain Division soldiers, and promises “to protect approximately 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado, establishing new wilderness areas and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations,” not all of the Senator’s constituents agree, citing land-use restrictions that will be instituted with the designation should the CORE Act become law.
“Terrible. Hidden agenda that does nothing for the area,” wrote Carl Bryan Leadville Today reader on Facebook when the legislation was initially introduced during the 2019 session. “Don’t be fooled that they include mountain biking- that’s not allowed either in wilderness areas. And sportsmen who are lucky enough to harvest an elk, aren’t hiking it out five miles without a vehicle. Poor disguise.”
Overall, the CORE Act has received widespread support from far-reaching officials and organizations across Colorado. ALL, that is EXCEPT for Lake County. Not a peep among Leadville’s local reps – for or against – among the long list of supporters now registered on the Congressional Record. In fact, when the first-ever National Historic Landscape conversation came up on the national news feeds again last fall, Leadville Today reached out to Ski Cooper whose slopes have the memory of training victory forever carved into its hills. What was their take on the legislation? Had they had any communication with DC representatives on the Act? That media inquiry was in early December. So no word yet from anyone representing the one Colorado county that has the deepest ties to this national designation, in addition to a partial northern county-line that could be impacted.
Maybe Saturday’s Town Hall Meeting will shed some light on the CORE of the matter. Leadville looks forward to your visit, Senator Bennet.
CORE Act Background
It was more than one year ago on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019 when Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) officially introduced the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. Specifically, the legislation unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act, the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act, the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
“Coloradans spent the last decade hammering out compromises to develop reasonable public lands bills with broad support. The CORE Act combines the best of those proposals, reflecting their bold vision to boost our economy and protect our public lands for future generations,” said Senator Bennet.
Readers can peruse the bill’s summary and specific text, but close to home, the act includes a first-of-its-kind which will honor Colorado’s military legacy with the Camp Hale Legacy Act. The bill designates 28,728 acres surrounding Camp Hale (MAP) as the first-ever National Historic Landscape. This unprecedented designation speaks to the storied legacy of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Colorado and around the world. The 10th Mountain Division that trained at Camp Hale led our nation to victory in World War II, then went on to create the outdoor industry as its known today. The National Historic Landscape designation would ensure Camp Hale’s historic preservation, secure existing recreational opportunities, and protect natural resources.
“The CORE Act brings years of local collaborative input to the preservation of our landscapes, wildlife and recreational opportunities to ensure that Colorado’s public lands remain at the center of our economy and are preserved for generations to come,” said Congressman Neguse.
Colorado counties, in close coordination with businesses, recreation groups, sportsmen, and conservationists, helped write each element of the CORE Act over the last decade. Of the land protected, about 73,000 acres are new wilderness areas, and nearly 80,000 acres are new recreation and conservation management areas that preserve existing outdoor uses, such as hiking and mountain biking. For a list of Letters of Support from neighboring counties, connect HERE.
“Colorado has waited too long for Congress to act on their earlier proposals, but the CORE Act presents a new opportunity to make real progress for our state. I’m looking forward to working with Congressman Neguse to move the CORE Act forward,” said Senator Michael Bennet.
For residents and voters who want to hear more about the CORE Act, you can attend the Town Hall Meeting in Leadville at noon on Saturday. However, there is also another event planned at Camp Hale for earlier that same morning as the Senator will tour the former campgrounds with eight veterans from the 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. For more details on that event, CONNECT HERE.
Camp Hale, Colorado – 10th Mountain Division
A Winter Scene near Leadville Today