CNN

Biden kicks off Western swing by designating WWII training ground as national monument

Oct 13, 2022, 8:30 AM

President Joe Biden, pictured here at the White House on Oct. 11, 2022. This week it was revealed t...

President Joe Biden, pictured here at the White House on Oct. 11, 2022. This week it was revealed that classified documents belonging to the president from his time as vice president were discovered in a private office in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: Susan Walsh/Associated Press

(CNN) — President Joe Biden kicked off a four-day western swing Wednesday by traveling to Camp Hale in Colorado to designate a World War II training ground site as a national monument and move to pause new mineral, oil and gas leasing in the protected area.

The President signed a proclamation establishing the 53,804-acre Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. While Biden has expanded some existing national monuments since becoming president, Wednesday marks the first time the President has used the 1906 Antiquities Act to create a national monument since taking office.

At the camp in Vail, Colorado, Biden called national monuments “treasures and wonders that define the identity of us as a nation.”

“They’re a birthright that we pass down from generation to generation. And they unite us — and that’s what today is all about. We’re doing it not just for today but for all the ages,” he said. “And it’s for the people of Colorado, but it’s also goes well beyond the people of Colorado. It’s for all the people across America and the world. It’s a permanent, permanent decision, an action that no future president can overturn.”

Biden said the Colorado lands “tell a story of America,” acknowledging that tribal nations have, for thousands of years, “been stewards of this sacred land, hunting game, foraging for medicinal plants and maintaining a deep spiritual bond with the land itself.”

Making Camp Hale a national monument will protect the site from development. The designation, the official said, will also “support jobs and America’s outdoor recreation economy.”

Camp Hale, which is located in part of the ancestral homelands of the Ute Tribes, served as a training site for the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division before their deployment to the Italian Alps in World War II. Soldiers trained in rugged terrain, learning how to ski, climb and snowshoe in the Rocky Mountains before traveling to fight in the war. Many soldiers returned to the area after the war to help develop the local ski industry.

Additionally, the President announced that the administration is tapping into funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to mitigate the impacts of drought in the Colorado River Basin. And the US Department of the Interior is announcing it is moving to pause new mineral leasing or oil and gas leasing in the newly protected area.

Colorado’s Thompson Divide hasn’t been available to oil and gas leasing for several years and there’s no current or planned future oil exploration in the area, the department said in a news release. Natural gas leases already established in the area would be unaffected by the move, but they make up less than 1% of Colorado’s overall federal oil and gas leases.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland will also move to block new mining leases in the nearly 225,000-acre area. That step will need to go through a public comment period before it is finalized.

Speaking about the leases, Biden said on Wednesday “that there’s no current or planned oil exploration production in the area. We’re just keeping things as they’ve been for a long time … while we study whether we can get this done.”

Colorado Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper and Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis joined the President at the event along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory, and additional local and tribal leaders.

One year ago, Biden announced the expansion of three existing national monuments — Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine — in a move that restored protections that had been undone by then-President Donald Trump. At the time, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah said his state’s national monuments were being used as a “political football.”

Some Coloradans have opposed Biden’s executive moves to expand federal protections, saying it could prevent future energy exploration. Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert, whose district includes the Thompson Divide, and other GOP members of Congress sent a letter to Biden opposing the President’s actions.

Colorado Democrats have pressed the White House to take the step in order to preserve an area of environmental and historical significance. Designating Camp Hale has been a key priority for Bennet, who faces a competitive race for reelection next month.

After visiting Vail, Biden is slated to make stops in Los Angeles and Orange County in California, as well as Portland, Oregon. During the four-day trip, the President will participate in a mix of official presidential events and fundraisers.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

CNN

An image produced using optical microscopy shows Clostridium botulinum, an ingredient in Botox and ...

John Bonifield, CNN

Counterfeit or mishandled Botox injections linked to harmful reactions in nine states

Harmful reactions to botox have been reported in nine states.

41 minutes ago

Victoria Beckham’s birthday party on Saturday got a little spicy, as the fashion designer celebra...

Alli Rosenbloom, CNN

Victoria Beckham reunites with the Spice Girls for iconic singalong at 50th birthday party

Victoria Beckham’s birthday party on Saturday got a little spicy, as the fashion designer celebrated with her former Spice Girls bandmates.

3 hours ago

More than a dozen people were taken to area hospitals following a tram collision at Universal Studi...

Paradise Afshar and Cindy Von Quednow, CNN

Tram collision at Universal Studios theme park leaves more than a dozen people with minor injuries

More than a dozen people were taken to area hospitals following a tram collision at Universal Studies Hollywood Saturday night.

5 hours ago

This composite image shows former President Donald Trump (center), Stormy Daniels (top left), Micha...

Kaanita Iyer, CNN

Here are the key players in Trump’s hush money trial

Originally Published: 15 APR 24 07:00 ET Updated: 21 APR 24 20:26 ET (CNN) — Opening statements in Donald Trump’s criminal New York hush money trial are set to begin Monday, more than a year after the former president was indicted in the case. The trial, which made its way swiftly through jury selection last week, is expected […]

15 hours ago

Student activists have spent multiple days occupying the lawns at Columbia University, calling for ...

Celina Tebor and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Rabbi associated with Columbia University recommends Jewish students ‘return home’ amid tense protests on campus

A rabbi recommended that Jewish students “return home as soon as possible and remain home” amid ongoing protests.

19 hours ago

The New Horizons spacecraft took an image of Pluto's heart on July 14, 2015....

Ashley Strickland, CNN

Pluto gained a ‘heart’ after colliding with a planetary body

Researchers think they have solved the mystery of how Pluto's distinctive heart came to be. It could reveal new clues about its origins.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

Biden kicks off Western swing by designating WWII training ground as national monument