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Colorado: U.S. Forest Service Releases Allenspark Recreational Shooting Project Environmental Assessment for Public Comment

Friday, July 15, 2011

The U.S. Forest Service has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) to address safety concerns that led to an emergency closure of approximately 132 acres of forest land located on the Boulder Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.  The closed area is a small undeveloped, isolated parcel in and around the former Allenspark Dump, intersected by State Highway 72.  It was a popular place that people gathered for informal target shooting. 

The EA provides three alternatives for the project to consider.  The first, Alternative A, would leave the site as it currently is and allow for recreational shooting to take place when the temporary closure expires on December 31, 2012.  Under Alternative B, a shooting range would be constructed and then managed and supervised under a special use permit by an organization, concessionaire or club.  This Alternative also provides details about a shooting range concept.  In Alternative B, 98 acres surrounding the range site would be closed to all activities except shooting, and 37 acres would be closed to shooting.  Alternative C would close the Allenspark site to all recreational shooting, including both the 98- and 37- acre parcels.

It is imperative that all hunters and shooters in the state send comments to the Forest Service in support of Alternative B and the construction of a shooting range at Allenspark Public lands are being closed all over to recreational shooting because of residential developments on forest boundaries (as in the case of Allenspark) and other issues.  Yet, federal lands are the only lands many hunters and shooters can access so it is critical that traditional uses of public lands like target shooting, sighting firearms in for hunting season, and introducing youth and other family members to shooting are preserved.

The EA is open for public comment until July 29.th It is posted online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/projects.  Comments can be submitted electronically at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/Commentinput?Project=32622.

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