The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is preparing a plan for managing recreational shooting in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests (ARNF). The USFS is proposing to:
(1) Add Forest Plan goals and objectives for recreational sport shooting.
(2) Identify lands as suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting.
(3) Identifylands as not suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting for safety reasons.
(4) Identify 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 by the USFS. Two designated shooting areas have been identified by the USFS; 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 USFS is hosting 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 vast majority of the comments the USFS has received thus far are from anti-gunners who want the forests closed to shooting. Those who attend the open houses and submit comments will be the ones to shape the outcome of the planning process.
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.