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The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has initiated a plan to revise its recreational shooting policy

CSSA  | Published on 3/13/2021

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has initiated a plan to revise its recreational shooting policy and management plan on the Pike National Forest (PNF). This plan will terminate recreational shooting within the Pike National Forest and initiate the creation of seven designated shooting ranges.

The Colorado State Shooting Association recognizes the concern of user conflict, population growth, and understands the importance of protecting our natural resources. However, the CSSA has supported recreational shooting on our forest lands for decades. The convenience of recreational shooting in the PNF allows for responsible Coloradans to easily and freely exercise their 2nd amendment right. The elimination of recreational shooting will force shooters to highly occupied ranges and wipe out easy shooting access in the forest. Recreational shooters rely on the forest as a cheap and peaceful place to shoot. Veteran shooters that utilize the PNF understand and follow the shooting regulations that are enforced by the USFS.

The economic footprint of recreational shooters is also something to take into account. Shooters that rely on the forest lands generate lots of economic activity by purchasing fuel, ammunition, food and contribute to business in small mountain towns. Eliminating recreational shooting in the forest will deter sportsmen and shooters from visiting altogether.

Without significant evidence supporting the negative impacts of dispersed recreational shooting, the CSSA believes the forest should remain open as an option for responsible shooters. The CSSA also supports the construction of the seven designated shooting ranges as they would supply the option of a more permanent shooting environment versus a more secluded shooting experience.

These designated shooting ranges would require significant monitoring to ensure they aren’t doing more harm than good. To ensure the best experience possible; designated shooting lanes, designated parking, restrooms, signage, and trash/brass reciprocals should be required. Donation boxes and volunteer patrol positions should also be considered.