LEADVILLE, Colo. (KDVR) – President Joe Biden plans to visit Colorado this week and declare a World War II training area a national monument, Nexstar’s KDVR has learned.
The Biden administration is preparing to designate Camp Hale, an alpine training site used during World War II, preserving the area and providing a boost to the reelection campaign of the state’s senior senator, Michael Bennet, a person familiar with the process told the Associated Press.
The designation is expected to come when the president will join Bennet, a fellow Democrat, and other elected officials in Colorado, according to the person, who declined to be identified discussing the designation before it is formally announced. Bennet is locked in a reelection fight with Republican businessman Joe O’Dea, during which the Democrat has pushed Biden to preserve Camp Hale, about 20 miles south of Vail.
The camp was where soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division trained in the harsh, wintry conditions of the Rocky Mountains in preparation for fighting in the Italian Alps during World War II. After the war, many returned to Colorado and played pivotal roles in the founding of the state’s ski industry.
Lawmakers have pushed for Camp Hale monument
Despite pushback from the state’s Republican representatives, Colorado’s democratic lawmakers have made it to the finish line now that the protective status of Camp Hale is set to be elevated to national monument status.
For more than a decade, Colorado lawmakers have been trying to get the site protected as a national monument in the CORE Act.
Bennet, who has been one of the officials leading the push for this designation, retweeted a Twitter post from the granddaughter of one of those who trained at Camp Hale.
“My grandfather trained at Camp Hale and was inspired by the surrounding landscapes to fight for wilderness after his army career. It would be wonderful for @POTUS to designate this land to inspire others. Thanks @SenatorBennet for your ongoing efforts,” Kerry Donovan said in the tweet.
This is the second time that Biden has visited Colorado this year and the third of his presidency. In January, he toured the area destroyed by the Marshall Fire with the first lady, and last September, he toured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Arvada and spoke about the importance of clean energy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.