COLORADO SPRINGS — The Forest Service announced Wednesday that the Pike and San Isabel National Forests Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands Forest and Grassland Supervisor has released the Integrated Management of Target Shooting on the Pike National Forest project for public comment.
According to the Forest Service, the Integrated Management of Target Shooting project addresses the need to provide opportunities for target shooting on National Forest System lands, to identify areas unsuitable for dispersed target shooting, to identify locations to be developed as shooting ranges, and to establish a conditions-based adaptive management framework to manage target shooting in the future.
The release said dispersed target shooting — where forest visitors set up targets and practice shooting in an undesignated, undeveloped location — is a legal use of National Forest System lands and has increased in popularity over the past decade.
“Unfortunately, the number of forest visitors who shoot in an unsafe manner has increased,” said Diana Trujillo, forest and grassland supervisor. “As a consequence, this activity is resulting in increasing levels of resource damage, trash generation, shooting-related wildfires, and negatively impacting the safety and recreational experience of other Forest users and neighbors.”
The PSICC is part of the Southern Shooting Partnership, a group of 11 federal and state agencies, county governments, and utility providers working to address issues related to recreational sport shooting on public lands.
The Forest Service said this project builds on recent activities of the partnership and is supported by a grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. In 2019, the partnership surveyed public land users and recreational shooters and held public listening sessions in four counties. The Integrated Management of Target Shooting proposed project incorporates public input gathered through these partnership activities.
This announcement opens a 45-day public comment period for the Integrated Management of Target Shooting project. The detailed proposed action and associated maps, as well as instructions for submitting comments, are available on the project website [fs.usda.gov]. Comments are due no later than February 22, 2021.