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Support Needed to Re-Open Rampart Shooting Range in Colorado!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Following an accidental shooting last July, the Forest Service closed the very popular and heavily used Rampart Shooting Range on the Pike National Forest.  In its nearly 20 year history, Rampart had never before experienced a shooting-related injury or fatality.   Rampart is the only free public range in El Paso County and receives 40,000 visitors a year.  The Service called the closure a "time-out" in order to assess whether the design of the range was a factor.  An investigation determined that the range was not a factor in the accident.  Safety experts have said that the accident could have happened at any range.  But after it closed Rampart, the Forest Service devised a scheme to keep the range closed permanently. 

The Forest Service has listed requirements that must be met before it will reopen Rampart.  There is no timetable for meeting these requirements and likely no money to cover costs.  The most significant issue is the requirement of full time supervision.  Most ranges on federal lands operate without supervision and this requirement could place all such ranges in jeopardy.  Rampart Range is in need of improvements which were identified more than two years ago.  Such improvements can be addressed and implemented with the range reopened.  The Forest Service has said that it could take up to five years before Rampart is reopened, but there is no guarantee that it would reopen Rampart in that timeframe or at any time in the future. 

NRA has been working to get Rampart Range reopened since the day it was closed, but we need the help of Colorado hunters and shooters to show the Forest Service and your elected officials that the federal government cannot continue to close public lands to recreational shooting, and certainly not without replacing those areas lost with other areas of the same or greater value.  Rampart Shooting Range is an important resource for the shooting community along the Front Range.  There is no incentive for the Forest Service to reopen Rampart unless the shooting sports community demands it! 

Shooting ranges on public lands are few and far between in Colorado.  In addition to the closure of Rampart, the Forest Service has closed its lands to recreational shooting near Boulder and on the Pawnee Grasslands, and large acreage closures have occurred west of Sedalia.  The Forest Service is not planning for recreational shooting.  Closures are imposed without opening new areas and needed improvements to existing areas, including the Rampart Shooting Range, have not been made.  Recreational shooting is not being treated by the Forest Service in Colorado as a legitimate and valued recreational activity on forest lands. 

Please send an e-mail in support of the immediate reopening of Rampart to:

Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service, at ttidwell@fs.fed.us, and copy your letter to: 

Senator Mark Udall at senator_mark_udall@markudall.senate.gov
Senator Michael Bennet at
http://bennet.senate.gov/contact/
,
Congressman Doug Lamborn at
CO05ima@mail.house.gov
, and
Governor Bill Ritter by clicking
here

Please stress that keeping the range closed is not supportable by the investigative report; that the closure has robbed the shooting community of a valuable resource; and that needed improvements to the range can be planned and implemented without closure.
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