The Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy Act, a sweeping public lands bill focused on Colorado with significant provisions for Summit County, had its first hearing in Congress on Tuesday with the House Natural Resources Committee.

The bill, which combines four previously introduced public lands bills protecting 400,000 Colorado acres from development, is being pushed strongly by its primary sponsors, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) in the House of Representatives and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, in the Senate.

Of the four original bills, the most significant for Summit is the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act. That bill would permanently protect 98,000 acres of the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle counties, as well as designate Camp Hale, the historic birthplace of the 10th Mountain Division located near Leadville, and its surrounding vistas as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape.

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