Area of Pawnee National Grassland closed while shooting area is constructed

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A temporary area closure will be in place on the Pawnee National Grassland during construction of the Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area.

The U.S. Army Reserves are constructing this site, allowing the U.S. Forest Service to stretch funding and providing the Army with a training opportunity. The Army asked for an area closure during the approximately two weeks of construction, to provide for the safety of both the reservists and the public. This training exercise will include heavy equipment in the area. After the two week exercise, reservists may be back on weekends to complete portions of the project.

The closure includes National Forest System lands around the shooting area. The closure is located east of Weld County Road (CR) 57, and mostly north of CR 96, with some areas south of CR 96 included. The entire area, including roads, is restricted from public use, as is shooting within or into this closed area. A map is available online at (PDF). The public needs to follow all signs on the grassland and allow the reservists to safely do their work.

The new designated shooting area is located near the intersection of CR 96 and CR 63. The site will include a parking lot, dirt berms, 30 shooting lanes with 26 shooting benches, an information kiosk, and potentially shade covers. Once completed, the area will be open from dawn to dusk.

Construction of this site was made possible through two grants. The National Rifle Association provided one grant for $25,000 and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife provided a second for $97,000. Support of the project was also provided by Weld County and the ARP Foundation, providing needed road work and help getting materials. The analysis and decision for this site occurred in 2011.

Once the construction is completely finished, the site will be open for general public use. The district will plan a grand opening event for early this fall.