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Public invited to provide input on the revised Integrated Management of Target Shooting Project

Posted at 8:18 AM, Nov 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-29 10:18:53-05

The United States Forest Service (USFS) released its revised proposal and plan for target shooting on public lands in Southern Colorado.

The USFS held two meetings earlier in November to discuss the coming changes and get stakeholder feedback about the issue and future of dispersed target shooting.

Among these would be the limiting of dispersed shooting on public lands through the establishment of shooting ranges across three major ranger districts across Colorado— Pikes Peak, South Park and South Platte Ranger Districts.

The USFS has proposed two action items for the public to consider when it comes to the proposed changes for dispersed target shooting. One of the action items is taking no action at all and maintaining the current status of dispersed shooting management. If this is selected, the USFS will maintain its current status of handling conflict, public safety and resource damage on a case-by-case basis.

Option two would be a three-part adaptive management style in an effort to minimize resource damage and conflict, and increase public safety. The three-part approach would develop shooting ranges in Southern Colorado, close areas of public lands to dispersed shooting and establish an adaptive management plan for the ranger districts across Southern Colorado.

A total of nine sites have been selected as possible spots for the future of target shooting in Southern Colorado. The updated maps and selection for the shooting sites have been released for public viewing and can be seen below.

ManagmenetMap.PNG

The second action item the USFS wants the public to consider is reducing where dispersed shooting is allowed on public lands in Southern Colorado.
The USFS says that under the new proposals approximately 755,769 acres across the Pike National Forest— roughly 89%— of the forest would be closed to dispersed shooting if this action plan was taken.

Currently, 136,887 acres of the national forest were previously closed to dispersed shooting. If the plan goes through 340,470 acres of the forest would remain open for dispersed shooting.

Closures.PNG

Below are the criteria used when determining if areas of land are unsuitable for dispersed target shooting by the agency:

  • Within the Manitou Experimental Forest
  • Within any research natural, or scenic areas
  • <1 mile from the boundary of a city or town
  • <1/2 mile from a single home, subdivision, or unincorporated town
  • <1/4 mile from any recreation site (trailhead, camp site [developed or designated dispersed], picnic area, etc.)
  • <1/4 mile from a communication or electrical transmission tower or other utilities
  • <1/4 mile from a lake or reservoir
  • <150 yards from perennial streams
  • <1/4 mile from highly visible trails, and <150 yards from any other National Forest System Trail (motorized or nonmotorized)
  • <150 yards from any National Forest System Road (ML1 or ML2)
  • <1/4 mile from any National Forest System Road (ML3, ML4, or ML5)
  • <1/4 mile from highly used recreation areas (such as for permitted outfitter and guide activities or seasonal over snow activities)
  • <= 5 acres in area (smaller areas not viable for management of dispersed shooting activities)

Should you like to provide input about the potential future of these sites comments can be provided on the project's website and are due by Dec. 28, 2023. You can also mail your comments to: Target Shooting Project, Attn: Jennifer DeWoody, 601 South Weber Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903; or deliver them to the address shown during business hours (M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm); or submit them by FAX (719) 477-4233.

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