Residents: Recreational shooting a danger in Boulder County

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- Residents in the Boulder County high country say recreational shooting on public land is going to get someone killed if something isn’t done.

Public land near Nederland is shared among homeowners, runners, bikers, campers and recreational shooters. Those who live and play there say recreational shooters have become a huge problem.

On any given day, the peace and serenity of the great outdoors is interrupted with sounds of gunfire. There are dozens of bullet casings just feet from the U.S. Forest Service trails.

“It sounds like you’re in a war zone, especially when they have the high powered rifles and AK-47s,” said Jane Curtis-Gazit, who lives less than a mile from where she says irresponsible shooting is abundant on shared public land.

A few weeks ago, she said, one of those bullets flew over her head.

“These are multiuse trails with shooters shooting across trails, blowing up trees and this is a well-documented problem,” she said.

“Maybe I’d be in the way, maybe bikers would be in the way, you know putting people in danger,” said Steve of running through the same areas accessed by the recreational shooters.

A few years ago leaders in several Front Range counties partnered with the US Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to find designated areas and come up with a safe plan for recreational shooting. Curtis-Gazit says it's years later, and still nothing has been decided.

“Somehow I can’t understand how someone getting shot or injured is not a high priority,” she said.

And until a plan becomes a priority, she said the people who live and recreate there will continue to dodge bullets and hope no one gets hurt.

“There’s absolutely no signage about any of the shooting, responsible shooting, houses are nearby, don’t shoot across trails, don’t drink, don’t do dope. … So this is the Wild Wild West mindset,” Curtis-Gazit said.

According to information from the Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership website, possible sites for shooting facilities are still in the beginning stages.

“Before any decision regarding the development of a shooting facility is made, a thorough site-specific analysis will need to be conducted to determine if such development is appropriate, this would include safety and environmental analysis among other criteria," according to the website.

"There may be areas that meet the preliminary criteria but site specific issues are discovered that make it difficult to develop a shooting area. In addition, there may be sites that did not meet all of the criteria, but may still be appropriate after further analysis."

A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at a home off Magnolia Road. Members of the U.S. Forest Service will be in attendance.  Neighbors said they are asking for action sooner rather than later.

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