Volunteers to meet Saturday to clean up spent casings, trash, targets at Harris Park Shooting Range

PARK COUNTY, Colo. -- Spent shell casings, empty ammo boxes and riddled targets litter the grounds of the Harris Park Shooting Range in the Pike National Forest.

It's gotten so bad that some neighbors, who enjoy using the park, say there should be a conversation about shutting it down.

"People just really need to learn to take care of something that they enjoy doing," said Harris Park resident Beth Bratz, "because it will be taken away if they stop doing that."

Bratz told Denver7 that she and her family use the shooting range periodically.

"When we go shooting," she said, "we never leave the house without a) our guns, and b) our bullets, a shovel and some trash bags."

She said they also takes a rake to help scoop up spent shells, which litter the shooting range by the thousands. 

"Trash is a huge issue," said Pike National Forest Public Affairs Officer Barb Timock. "It's unsightly. It's resource damage and it should not be happening."

Legal Use

Timock said recreational shooting is a legal use of the National Forest, but that some people don't follow the rules.

"They should be using manufactured targets," she said, "and not be shooting at trees."

She also said that whatever they bring to the range, they should take back home with them -- ammo, targets and packaging.

Timock added that explosive ammo and targets are not allowed because of fire danger.

Trash is a problem in other areas of the National Forest as well.

Timock said computers, printers, television sets and plastic flamingos have been left behind.

She said the Forest Service spends $20,000 in one district alone on dumpsters and trash removal.

"That's not what taxpayers want the Forest Service to be spending money on," she said.

Volunteer Clean Up

Bratz said she'll join other volunteers at the Harris Park Shooting Range on Saturday to help clean up some of the debris.

"We take pride in removing what we bring in," she said. "It'll feel good to get the range cleaned up."

Cleanup efforts get underway at 9 a.m. 

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