The scoping period begins for the Integrated Management of Target Shooting (open until Feb 21st). This project will affect recreational shooting on the Pikes Peak, South Platte, and South Park Ranger Districts. The Pike National Forest encompasses more than 1.1 million, and our little local Pikes Peak Ranger district covers 230,000 acres.
The existing rules for Target Shooting may have been fine on the USFS land when El Paso county population was small, but with the city/county exploding to 1 million people, this is no longer feasible. The inherent risks to public safety, wildfires, resource damage, and trash accumulation from Target Shooting are unfortunately no longer tolerable. We are not advocating anything extreme, only to have Target Shooting in designated areas and not on mixed-use trail areas that we use recreationally for hiking, running, biking, equestrian, etc. We can only bike or drive a motorized vehicle in designated areas/trails/roads, so why not the same for target shooting? The USFS needs to have a system-wide answer to the issue, not just the current band-aid closure methodology.
We have no issues with Target Shooting in specifically designated areas, just not on heavily trafficked trail areas.
So please comment on this crucial topic: Integrated Management of Target Shooting on the Pike National Forest #57807