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Colorado: Support Needed for Establishing a Shooting Range in the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recently, the U.S. Forest Service closed an area in the Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest that was a popular site for target shooting.  Known as the former Allenspark dump, the site is located between Boulder and Estes Park and west of Lyons at the junction of Highways 7 and 72.  Over the past several years, houses have been built not far from the site, and with the influx of new residents, complaints started  about stray bullets leaving Forest land and entering private property.  As a result of these complaints, the Service issued an emergency closure of the shooting site.  At the same time, it announced a proposal to establish and build a designated shooting range at the same site.

The Service is giving the public until June 24th to comment on its proposal.   The proposal can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/arnf.  Click on "Allenspark Recreational Shooting Project."  Comments can be emailed to comments-rocky-mountain-arapaho-roosevelt-boulder@fs.fed.us and the subject line should read "Allenspark Recreational Shooting Project."  For further information you may call the District Ranger's office at 303-541-2500.

Loss of public land access for hunting and shooting is a major concern.  Many national forests have closed huge acreages to recreational shooting and your NRA has been working with sportsmen in the state to stem the loss of access.  The closure of Allenspark is an all too common epitaph for traditional shooting sites when development and other recreational activities cause conflicts with shooting.  In this particular case, the Service is stepping forward to respond to the needs of shooters while addressing concerns raised by nearby residents.  It is vitally important that the shooting community rally support around this proposal by submitting comments to the Forest Service.   While the NRA fully supports the proposal to build a shooting range, we do not support the Forest Service's requirement that it be a supervised range and that it can only be opened with on-site presence of the supervisor.  Most shooting ranges on national forests are unsupervised and such a requirement severely limits the probability that such a range proposal will become reality.

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