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Editor’s note: The CORE Act passed a full floor vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, 227-182, with five Republicans voting yes and one Democrat voting no. The Colorado congressional delegation was split along party lines, with the four Democrats voting yes and three Republicans voting no.
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, assailed the Trump administration, Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton for their lack of support and outright opposition to the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act after the White House Tuesday threatened to veto the bill.
“Congressman Tipton and Sen. Gardner can play lackeys for [President] Donald Trump’s anti-public lands agenda all they want, but Coloradans know better on how to grow our economy than Washington,” Donovan said in a text statement.
A full vote on the CORE Act on the House floor is expected Thursday.
Republicans Tipton and Trump both argued there has not been enough local input into the wilderness bill that has been painstakingly cobbled together over the past decade. It would afford the highest level of protection while also maintaining public recreation access to about 400,000 acres of public land, including the historic Camp Hale area between Vail and Leadville.
Gardner, also a Republican, has remained neutral on the bill and is the only senator in recent memory who has failed to introduce any significant wilderness legislation in Colorado.
“The truth is that the CORE Act was developed with input from a diverse and broad coalition with a mission to protect our public lands, and honor our veterans by preserving and protecting Camp Hale. It has enormous support,” Donovan added.
“Wilderness, by definition, is a citizen-led effort. If President Trump thinks he needs to study an issue more before supporting it, I suggest what states border Mexico as a good place start. This threat of a veto is the worst that politics has to offer and is unpatriotic.”
Tipton’s 3rd Congressional District includes the western two-thirds of Eagle County. Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, whose 2nd Congressional District includes Vail, put out this press release today:
Congressman Neguse Honors 10th Mountain Army Veteran Sandy Treat in Legislation to Preserve Camp Hale
Washington D.C.—An effort proposed by Congressman Joe Neguse to name an overlook point by Camp Hale after 10th Mountain Army veteran Sanford Morris “Sandy” Treat Jr has passed the House Rules Committee and will be incorporated into the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, slated to receive a vote on the House floor on Thursday.
“Sandy was one of the first soldiers at Camp Hale, where as part of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division he trained for mountain warfare conditions in World War II.” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “I was honored to be able to meet with him during our trips to Camp Hale this summer, and witness his passion for preserving Camp Hale for future generations. I’m proud to fight for the completion of his vision by bringing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act to the House floor this week which would preserve Camp Hale as the first-ever National-Historic Landscape.”
The Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or the CORE Act, is set to receive a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives later this week. If passed, the CORE Act will be the first statewide Colorado wilderness legislation to pass the U.S. House of Representatives in over a decade. Congressman Neguse was able to usher the bill through Committee earlier this year, where the legislation earned a vote of approval from the Natural Resources Committee. The bill designates 28,728 acres surrounding Camp Hale as the first-ever National Historic Landscape, an unprecedented designation that speaks to the storied legacy of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Colorado and around the world.
In addition to the designation of Camp Hale, in the 2nd Congressional District the legislation would provide permanent protections for nearly 100,000 acres of wilderness, recreation and conservation areas in the White River National Forest. Three new wilderness areas would be created in the Tenmile Range, Hoosier Ridge, and Williams Fork Mountains, totaling 21,033 acres and three existing wilderness areas—Eagles Nest, Ptarmigan Peak and Holy Cross wilderness—would be expanded adding 20,196 acres. Input and support from community leaders in Eagle and Summit Counties led to these designations.
The bill also creates a recreation management area in the Tenmile Range totaling 16,966 acres, which will protect access to world-class outdoor recreation, such as mountain biking, hiking and hunting and would adjust the boundaries around the Trail River Ranch in Rocky Mountain National Park to ensure ongoing access to the property for youth and community education programs. The bill also creates two new wildlife conservation areas totaling 11,668 acres. The Porcupine Gulch Wildlife Conservation Area would protect Colorado’s only migration corridor over Interstate 70 for elk, bear, mule deer, and other wildlife and the Williams Fork Wildlife Conservation Area would enhance wildlife habitat for the Greater Sage-grouse and other species.
Across the state, the CORE Act would preserve approximately 400,000 acres of public lands, by establishing new wilderness areas and safeguarding existing outdoor recreation opportunities to boost the economy for future generations.