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Hulk
09-15-2011, 03:53 PM
Colorado forest officials to limit where campers can set up at Camp Hale, a historic WWII site

By Jordan Steffen
The Denver Post
Posted: 09/11/2011 01:00:00 AM MDT

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2011/0910/20110910__20110911_B02_CD11CAMPHALE%7Ep1_200.JPG (http://www.denverpost.com/portlet/article/html/imageDisplay.jsp?contentItemRelationshipId=3959711)
Colorado forest officials want to preserve the natural and historic resources of Camp Hale, training camp of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II. (Denver Post file )

Camping at the historic Camp Hale will be restricted to designated campsites next summer, angering some visitors who have spent decades wandering the popular valley floor.

The decision to ban "disbursed" camping near Camp Hale comes as part of a 2002 forest plan, designed to gradually reduce the use and preserve historic and natural resources in the valley about 15 miles south of Minturn, said Pat Thrasher, spokesman for White River National Forest.

During World War II, Camp Hale served as a training camp for the 10th Mountain Division. Today, artifacts and foundations of the original buildings dot the valley floor.

As more and more campers have staked tents through the forest, rangers have seen an accelerated deterioration of the historical resources at the site.

"We are seeing people taking chunks off buildings and using them for fire rings," Thrasher said. "I can't say for sure if artifacts are being picked up and taken off the site, but it is certainly a possibility."

Natural resources have also suffered in recent years. Water quality in the valley's streams has been affected by visitors setting up camp too close to the water and inappropriately disposing of waste in the streams, Thrasher said. Delicate soil in the valley is also being disturbed by heavy vehicles traveling through the area.
Dr. Richard Brown and his family have been camping on the valley floor of Camp Hale for more than 50 years, and he said the restrictions are unnecessary and unfounded.

"The campers up there are really very good," Brown said. "The valley floor looks better now than it has in 50 years."

But Thrasher says there is also a safety element in the decision to limit camping. Live bullets, artillery shells and other ammunition still litter the valley floor. There is no record of any exploding.

The decision has not been formally announced, but signs have been posted in the area all summer, and rangers are educating campers about next year.

"I think a lot of people don't look at the Forest Service as having a responsibility to protect historical resources, but we do, and it's something that we take pretty seriously," Thrasher said.

A ranger spoke to Brown last month when he and his family set up camp in the valley, he said.

"Campers are frustrated that the Forest Service keeps taking away the area and they don't tell anyone when they do," Brown said.

Colorado Springs resident James Cooley said he is familiar with Camp Hale and supports preserving natural resources there.

"If they are going to do something with its history, that would keep the footprint down, then I say go for it," Cooley said.

Both designated campgrounds at Camp Hale will remain open with reduced services this fall. They will reopen next spring when the snow melts, Thrasher said.

Jordan Steffen: 303-954-1794 or jsteffen@denverpost.com

SOURCE: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18869971

corsair23
09-15-2011, 04:06 PM
Well, if they are worried about preserving the site then just close it off entirely so no one can disturb anything...What a load of BS :(

Snowrun
09-15-2011, 04:21 PM
Shouldn't they rename it No Camping Hale? That sucks I love the area and was looking forward to camping (not in a campground) there in the future .

DaveInDenver
09-15-2011, 04:27 PM
We were up there this past July 4th and honestly people were camped all over the place willy-nilly. This doesn't shock me.

nuclearlemon
09-15-2011, 06:15 PM
the "elimination" of camping began with some washington jack($&* from the midwest who was out here and saw people camping all over a "national monument" and raised a stink. it's not new that camping is at risk, at least they may leave some camping. the politician wanted it all shut down.

Hulk
09-15-2011, 06:37 PM
the "elimination" of camping began with some washington jack($&* from the midwest who was out here and saw people camping all over a "national monument" and raised a stink. it's not new that camping is at risk, at least they may leave some camping. the politician wanted it all shut down.

[Citation needed].

wesintl
09-15-2011, 06:47 PM
some washington jack($&* from the midwest who was out here and saw people camping all over a "national monument" and raised a stink

I knew it was obama's fault