Members of Congress have been on the campaign trail and back in their districts through the month of October. When they return in November after the election, only a short window will remain to finalize annual defense and spending bills as well as any other outstanding priorities before the 117th Congress comes to a close.
Administrative Protections of Colorado’s Public Lands
On Oct. 12, President Biden used his authority under the Antiquities Act for the first time during his administration to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument in central Colorado. The 53,804-acre monument supported by BHA will be managed by the Forest Service and includes important fish and wildlife habitat. BHA Conservation Director John Gale was in attendance for the announcement and offered this response:
“The Antiquities Act is a crucial tool to conserve large landscapes, secure important fish and wildlife habitat and uphold hunting and angling opportunities,” said Gale. “Since it was signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, it’s been used by 17 presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, to ensure the long-term conservation of places important to hunters and anglers.”
Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument will conserve public lands that provide important mule deer and elk migration corridors as well as headwaters fisheries. Legislation known as the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, led by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO), has sought to conserve this landscape for years with the support of local communities and stakeholders including hunters and anglers. It has passed the House of Representatives five times, but so far it has failed to advance from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
BHA has long advocated for national monument designations that adhere to a set of tenets, including that they be locally driven, transparent, incorporate the science-based management of habitat and uphold existing hunting and fishing opportunities. In partnership with other sporting groups and outdoor businesses, in 2016 BHA produced a report highlighting opportunities for conservation through national monument designation.
Alongside the designation of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, the departments of Agriculture and the Interior announced the proposal of a 20-year mineral withdrawal for more than 200,000 acres of western Colorado’s Thompson Divide region. The following environmental analysis and public comment period and environmental analysis will include a two-year moratorium on new leasing in the region. BHA supports this withdrawal, which would conserve 34,000 acres of elk migration corridors and 1,550 miles of wild streams.
The Ecological Impact of Feral Horses and Burros in the American West