Officials Aim At Reducing The National Forest Land Available For Sports Shooting

(Photo: Courtesy of the US Forest Service)
<p>Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado</p>
Photo: Roosevelt National Forest
Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado

More than 225,000 acres in Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests could become sports shooting-free zones.

A draft plan from the U.S. Forest Service, local county partners and Colorado Parks and Wildlife proposes banning recreational shooting on 225,574 acres of the 1.4 million-acre Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests.

The decision will not affect lawful hunting in areas of the two forests where it's currently allowed.

The proposal is a big step for a 5-year-long collaborative project that's juggled safety concerns from residents with advocacy for recreational sport shooting.

"This is a compromise. And we were of the opinion that the fewest closures of acres that were needed to solve the problem was the way to go on this project," said Mark Leslie, the Northeast Regional Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Boulder, Clear Creek, Gilpin and Larimer are the partner counties on the proposal.

Sports shooting closures will not be implemented until the draft plan is adopted, which could be sometime later this year or in early 2019.