Colorado hikers beware: Live military munitions can be found on some public lands

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<p><span id="docs-internal-guid-525f4556-5d4d-b1c5-1358-41baf61f3edb"><span style="font-size: 13px; font-family: Arial; white-space: pre-wrap;">(Courtesy of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)</span></span></p>
<p>A munition is demolished on a Camp Hale hillside.</p>

Editor's note: This article originally ran March 30, 2015. It was updated to reflect the day Colorado Matters re-aired the segment.

Camp Hale, in between Leadville and Minturn, still contains some explosive remnants of its time as a World War II training ground. U.S. soldiers, preparing for deployment to the Italian Alps, practiced using bullets, mortar shells, and grenades to test their performance at high altitude.

Today, some of those munitions remain in the rugged mountain terrain, and may be still unexploded, says Ken Vogler of the state's Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division. His munitions response team is responsible for the cleanup effort at the camp, which has been ongoing for more than five years. He says that it could last another decade.

The area being investigated is about 95,000 acres of public land. Though the chance that any one person comes across a dangerous item is small, the number of people visiting the area is growing.

"It’s highly unlikely that any one individual finds something, but individuals do find items, and when they do we ask them not to touch them," says Vogler.

No accidental explosions have been reported. Vogler’s team encourages anyone that comes across something that looks dangerous or suspicious to exercise the “Three R’s:” recognize, retreat, and report.

A map of Formerly Used Defense Sites can be found here.