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CC, UCCS Collaborate on Fort Carson Research

A Colorado College professor and UCCS professor have spent more than seven years tracking the efforts of the U.S. military to expand the Army base at Fort Carson and the rural resistance against it. Research by UCCS Associate Professor of Geography David Havlick and Colorado College Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Southwest Studies Eric Perramond has resulted in an article in the journal Environment & Planning D: Society and Space. Titled "Militarized spaces and open range: Piñon Canyon and (counter)cartographies of rural resistance," the piece examines how rural communities in Colorado have confronted military expansion.

In the article Havlick and Perramond, who also is the director of Colorado College's State of the Rockies Project, note that although there have been a series of base realignments and closures during the past three decades that have streamlined U.S. military holdings nationwide, the Army base at Fort Carson has been growing.

In 1983 Fort Carson expanded into a 95,500-hectare training area in southeastern Colorado known as the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. In 2006 the Army announced plans to expand the site by 169,000 hectares. Under the Army's proposal, a significant portion of southeastern Colorado would be transformed into the largest Army training ground in the U.S. This prospect galvanized a diverse coalition of rural residents to oppose the Piñon Canyon expansion.

Havlick and Perramond's research, begun in 2007, examines how the principal actors in this case-the U.S. Army and a rural citizen opposition coalition-mobilized different narrative and political strategies based on substantially contrasting cartographic representations to shape the debate and construct contested geographies of this space as military training ground versus open range.

The article notes that as of 2014, the expansion of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site is on hold, although there is no guarantee that the base or military area expansion will not proceed in the future.

Report an issue - Last updated: 12/16/2020