Keep shooting facilities open | AspenTimes.com

Keep shooting facilities open

Dear Editor:

An open letter to the community of Basalt from the Roaring Fork Valley Sportsman’s Association (RFVSA):

A nascent movement within the community of Basalt threatens the Division of Wildlife (DOW) shooting facilities at Lake Christine with closure. Aside from the legal obstacles that a serious movement to close the shooting range must first overcome, there are important considerations that the community of Basalt should carefully weigh.

Most importantly, a closure of the DOW shooting facilities at Lake Christine would result in shooters, up and down the Roaring Fork Valley, heading to the closest National Forest or BLM lands. In the case of Basalt, that would mean the lower reaches of Basalt Mountain, the Arbaney Kittle area, Emma, the access points along the Fryingpan River, and anywhere else public lands meet the road. In that regard, it does not take a stretch of the imagination to envision the manifold set of locations and problems that a range closure and the subsequent utilization of various public lands would create. On the positive side, there would be a definite spike in the sale

and purchase of fluorescent orange clothing.

Next, the presence of the DOW shooting range at Lake Christine provides shooters and law enforcement, from Rifle to Aspen, with a safe and well managed facility to both pursue their respective shooting disciplines and to learn safe gun handling. On the RFVSA side of the facility we host the Annual Disabled American Veterans Shoot and are actively promoting shotgun safety and sports through our support of 4H and high school shooting programs. Through our associations with our commercial members, we are offering shooting instruction with instructors certified by the American Trapshooting Association, the National Skeet Shooting Association and the National Sporting Clays Association.

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Finally, the shooting sports and hunting are an important part of the heritage and culture of the West, and to our local economies as well. The shooting range provides responsible hunters, both locals and visitors, with a convenient opportunity to sharpen their shooting skills before heading to the field. The membership of the RFVSA is passionate about this important part of our heritage. The site where the RFVSA shooting facilities were constructed in the late 1970s has been used by the Roaring Fork community as a shooting range for over 60 years.

Please help us preserve this important part of our community and of our Western heritage.

Phil Eastley

for the RFVSA board of managers

Basalt

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