Camp Hale National Historic Landscape
Legislation was recently introduced to Congress to establish Camp Hale as the United States first National Historic Landscape as part of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act. Located in a glacial valley, in the shadow of the Continental Divide, is the former US Military training facility called Camp Hale. It was established during World War II to prepare soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division for high elevation warfare in Italy. After the war Camp Hale was decommissioned and management was transferred to the US Forest Service.
During the construction of Camp Hale, a section of the Eagle River was channelized and the surrounding wetlands drained. The National Forest Foundation has included Camp Hale as part of their Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences program. The program aims to restore the riparian zone of the Eagle River by removing invasive plant species, reestablishing wetlands and restoring the Eagle River’s natural oxbows that were straightened during construction of Camp Hale.
Tenth Mountain Division troops trained year round to prepare for harsh winter conditions and navigating unrelenting mountainous terrain. Along with combat skills, they learned how to ski, rock climb and backpack in an unforgiving landscape. Key allied victories were achieved by soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division. After the war, many veterans of the 10th went on to establish some of the world’s most recognized outdoor recreation brands, ski resorts and environmental movements including Paul Petzoldt, Pete Seibert and David Brower.