By: Robert Davis

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) awarded nearly $725,000 in grants to eight shooting ranges as a part of its Shooting Range Development Grant Program (SRDG), which is designed to establish, improve, and expand shooting facilities within the state.

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife is committed to providing the public with safe shooting facilities," said Jim Guthrie, CPW’s SRDG coordinator, in a press release obtained by Gunpowder Magazine. "This year’s grants will help improve some ranges, but it will also help with the development and construction of new places for the public to enjoy recreational shooting. That’s important for a variety of reasons, including providing a safe place where hunters can sight in their firearms, give recreational shooters a safe place to have fun and providing even more places for outdoor recreation."

The grant will fund improvement projects at Royal Gorge Gun Club, Northern Colorado Rod and Gun Club, Meeker Sportsmen’s Club, Summit County Shooting Range, and Grand Junction Trap Club. Monies will also be used to plan and design new ranges at Boulder Rifle Club, Clear Creek County Range, and in Pike and San Isabel National Forest.

To qualify for the grant, a shooting range must demonstrate that their project would have a substantive public benefit, and that local lawmakers would approve of the project.

“Each year, SRDG maximizes its impact by providing matching grants to towns, counties, outdoor recreation organizations, shooting clubs, parks and recreation departments and others,” the press release says. “These projects establish, improve or expand shooting ranges and shooting areas – including archery ranges – throughout the state.”

This grant is the brainchild of four counties—Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek, and Larimer—who banded together in 2013 to provide safe places for recreational shooters to practice while simultaneously addressing residential concerns across the Front Range.

GPM reported in February that Colorado’s rapidly increasing population is posing problems for sport shooters and hunters in the state. To combat this problem, The Northern Front Range Recreational Sport Shooting Management Partnership created designated shooting areas within the state’s national forests and open spaces.

“We want to stress that this is first and foremost about public safety,” said Reghan Cloudman, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Forestry Service.

Funds for the grants come from federal excise taxes generated by the sale of hunting and shooting equipment, in addition to funds generated by license fees. Local jurisdictions also chip in 25 percent of the project’s total cost.

Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. You can contact him with tips or comments at [email protected].