Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Releases Final Decision for Recreational Sport Shooting

Release Date: Jun 13, 2019

Contact(s): Reghan Cloudman

FORT COLLINS, Colo.  – Forest Supervisor Monte Williams today signed the final decision on the Recreational Sport Shooting Management Project. The goal of the project is to provide safer opportunities for all forest visitors by identifying areas where recreational sport shooting is unsuitable.

“Close, collaborative work with our partners, interests groups and the local community has helped us reach this balanced decision. We appreciate the time everyone has taken to provide input on this complex project,” said Williams. “My decision continues to deliver recreational sport shooting opportunities while providing for public safety, which was the ultimate goal.”

The decision will protect public safety through restrictions on recreational sport shooting on 226,113 acres of the 1.4 million acre Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. Other areas of the forest and around Colorado remain available for recreational sport shooting when following all rules and regulations. This decision will not affect lawful hunting with a firearm in areas where it is currently allowed. Identified unsuitable areas, not already closed to recreational sport shooting, will not be closed until public shooting ranges are open as part of the decision.

Only minor changes were made from the draft decision to the final decision, including some clarifying language and the addition of 539 unsuitable acres identified through the objection process. There are three components to the final decision:

  • Language amending the Forest Plan to address management of Recreational Sport Shooting;
  • A forest-wide map showing areas where Recreational Sport Shooting is unsuitable and will be restricted; and
  • 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 final decision and map, is available on our website

A phased implementation plan will be coordinated with partners as public shooting areas are constructed.  Many 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 progress of shooting ranges can be found at the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership’s website.

“This Partnership has provided a great opportunity to have all levels of government come together to find a solution to such a challenging situation while representing many stakeholders,” Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Regional Manager Mark Leslie said. “The contingency on public shooting ranges allows for sport shooting opportunities while addressing safety concerns forest visitors and residents have expressed.”

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 decision is in addition to already established rules and regulations for recreational sport shooting.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.