The NRA issued an alert in May to advise our Colorado members that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) had announced its intent to amend the management plan for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests (ARNF) to address recreational shooting. The USFS received over 300 comments regarding its announcement, including the letter sent by the NRA and 29 other national sportsmen’s organizations.
Based on the comments, the USFS is proposing a direction for managing recreational shooting in the ARNF and is inviting comments until September 9, 2015. The proposed direction includes:
(1) Adding Forest Plan goals and objectives for recreational sport shooting.
(2) Identifying lands as suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting.
(3) Identifying lands as not suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting for safety reasons.
(4) Identifying sites that are suitable as designated shooting areas.
Details about the proposed direction can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/recshootingmgt, along with a map that shows which lands the USFS believes are suitable for recreational shooting, which lands are not suitable, and which are being proposed as designated shooting areas.
Approximately 1.1 million acres (80%) of the ARNF are proposed as suitable for shooting. Approximately 287,000 acres (20%) are not considered suitable. Two designated shooting areas have been identified; one at Allenspark in Boulder County and one at Devils Nose in Clear Creek County. Additional designated shooting areas may be identified within the ARNF in other counties.
The Forest Service will also be holding three open houses to answer questions and take comments on the proposal. These open houses will be held in Nederland, Idaho Springs, and Fort Collins at the following locations and times:
Monday, August 31 from 5pm to 7pm
Nederland Community Center
750 Highway 72 North
Nederland CO 80466
Tuesday, September 1 from 5pm to 7pm
Clear Creek Middle School (Clear Creek School District Administration Building)
320 Highway 103
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Wednesday, September 2 from 5pm to 7pm
Canyon Lakes Ranger District
2150 Centre Avenue, Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526
It is critical to the future of recreational shooting in the ARNF that shooters take the time and make the effort to engage in this planning process. Shooters and hunters who shoot on the ARNF are in the best position to chart the future of recreational shooting on over 1.3 million acres of forest lands.
The first step is to review the map to see whether and to what extent the proposed closure of 287,000 acres will affect your enjoyment of recreational shooting. Does the 80% of the ARNF that would remain open to shooting provide good public access? What other areas besides Allenspark and Devils Nose should be set aside and designated specifically for shooting?
Comments can be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, 2150 Centre Avenue, Building E, Fort Collins, CO 80526, Attention: RSS Proposal. For additional information you may contact Joshua Milligan, Forest Planner, at [email protected] or call 970-295-6761