Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Release Draft Decision for Recreational Sport Shooting: Draft decision was designed collaboratively and balances recreational shooting with safety concerns

Release Date: Sep 20, 2018

Contact(s): Reghan Cloudman

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland released its draft decision on the Recreational Sport Shooting (RSS) Management Project today. This collaborative project aims to provide safe, responsible and accessible recreational sport shooting opportunities while providing for public health and safety.

“We have worked closely with partners, interests groups and the local community to help design a draft decision that balances sport shooting, a long time and legitimate use, with public safety,” said Forest Supervisor Monte Williams.

The draft decision would restrict recreational sport shooting on 225,574 acres of the 1.4 million acre Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, while other areas of the forest and around Colorado remain available for recreational sport shooting when following all rules and regulations. The draft decision will not affect lawful hunting with a firearm in areas where it is currently allowed.

“The Partnership between the counties, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and the U.S. Forest Service devised a balanced strategy that provides better opportunities for recreational sport shooting while addressing the concerns of our mountain residents,” said Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck. “Along with strong public input, the draft decision represents a tremendous win-win for all stakeholders that enjoy our public lands in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.”

The draft decision is a modification of the local factors alternative that was previously released to the public for review. Feedback from alternative map meetings hosted by the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership (Partnership) helped identify strengths and weaknesses of the various alternatives and led the Forest Supervisor to select this modified alternative.

There are three components to the draft decision:

  1. Language amending the ARP Forest Plan to address management of RSS;
  2. A forest-wide map showing areas where RSS is unsuitable and will be restricted; and
  3. An adaptive management strategy that allows the Forest to quickly respond should new or unforeseen safety issues occur in the future.

Additional information, including the draft decision and an interactive map, is available on our website.  The release of the draft decision starts the formal 45-day objection period, which begins the day the legal notice is published in the newspaper of record (Fort Collins Coloradoan). Only those who provided comments during the formal comment period have standing to object.

A phased implementation plan will be coordinated with partners as public shooting areas are constructed.  Much of the restrictions are contingent on shooting ranges being developed to maintain recreational shooting opportunities in those areas with the most restrictions. Details on the Partnership’s progress on shooting ranges can be found at the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership’s website. A final decision is expected toward the end of 2018 or early 2019. No implementation will take place until a final decision is signed.

The Partnership, which includes Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Larimer counties, has provided a localized perspective on safety issues and the desire for sustainable RSS activities that they have heard from their constituents.

The Forest Service wants to remind everyone that this draft decision is in addition to already established requirements for recreational sport shooting and no restrictions in this draft decision will be implemented until a final decision is signed.