In 2018, the U.S. Forest Service will amend the Forest Plan regarding recreational sport shooting on nearby National Forest Service lands. Four “alternative management strategies” have been drafted in collaboration with stakeholders comprising the Northern Front Range Sport Shooting Management Partnership. This effort seeks to adopt a balanced management strategy in response to growing concerns and conflicts resulting from increased sport shooting activity, which is currently allowed on public lands. Lawful hunting activities are not affected.
For those unfamiliar with the impacts of recreational sport shooting, and “dispersed recreational sport shooting” in particular, I offer this story. A couple of years ago, I joined some friends for a day of rock climbing. We drove past Lyons on Colo. 7 and turned onto Bunce School Road. Reaching our destination, we were surrounded by beautiful forest and rock outcroppings. For the entire day, barely a minute passed without the jarring barrage of noise from pistol and military-style gunfire.
There are serious negative consequences of sport shooting on our public lands, which include:
• Jeopardizing the safety of others
• Destroying the peaceful enjoyment of our public lands
• Degrading wildlife habitat
• Sacrificing the quality of life for rural residents without their consent
• Increasing the risk of forest fires
• Polluting land, water and wildlife with lead bullets
Unbelievably, three of the four alternatives would designate large swaths of the 10 “wilderness areas,” including Indian Peaks Wilderness and James Peak Wilderness, as “suitable for dispersed recreational sport shooting.” Only Alternative 4 designates wilderness areas as “unsuitable” for recreational sport shooting, while providing additional shooting ranges: “Alternative 4: No Dispersed Shooting anywhere on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.”
Questions? Email Boulder County flood recovery manager Garry Sanfaçon at email@example.com. Wilderness or sport shooting — you decide. Please become informed and submit your comment today at sportshootingpartners.org/commentform.
By Kimberly Gibbs, Gunbarrel