Summit County Shooting Range adds site improvments and summer classes thanks to grants
The Summit County Shooting Range will be closed for the next five weeks for several safety and utility improvements. Thanks to a $177,000 grant the range received from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, a concrete stairway and surface will be added to the range for added stability, as well as a partial roof structure, drainage improvements and a permanent outhouse.
“This makes it a little bit of a nicer facility. It can make it safer too,” said Summit Range Association president Brian Denison. “When you’re carrying a firearm, you want to be as safe as you can, and these steps will make it a little easier to get to the range.”
Columbine Hills Concrete will add the new pavements and stairway stretching from the parking lot to the range, where before, users had to trudge their way up a dirt hill. Denison added that the concrete surface will make it easier to collect shells and maintain stable footing.
Erosion control and a new storm drain will protect the fresh pavement from runoff, to better maintain the volunteer-run range. The new roof over the rifle benches will not only provide shelter from the elements, but will also allow users the option to choose between open and covered positions. Several of the shooting tables will become more wheelchair accessible.
“In a place like Summit County, where there’s such an active community of sportsmen and sportswomen, it’s important for us to offer a safe and affordable location for people to practice their shooting skills,” County Commissioner Dan Gibbs said in a statement. “By upgrading this free amenity, we’re helping to facilitate the safe and ethical enjoyment of shooting sports.”
Combined, the county and the volunteer-based Summit Range Association will provide $59,000 in funding, materials and volunteer time to complete the project on time. Despite the rainy weather, Denison hopes to see the range open again by July 2.
He added that during a three-day span last Fourth of July weekend, the range saw 400 visitors from across the state. Denison estimates that 60 percent of users drive up from Denver and Colorado Springs.
“We’re one of the few free shooting ranges on this part of the state. There aren’t a lot of them,” Denison said. “By having a public shooting range that’s free, it encourages people to shoot in the range instead of in the forest.”
An additional $30,000 grant from Friends of the National Rifle Association will allow the Summit Range Association to offer two classes directed at women this summer for self-defense and training. The first class, “Refuse to be a victim,” will be hosted in a classroom outside of the range, with the goal of teaching participants strategies to become more attentive of their surroundings.
The second course, “Women on Target,” will offer training on the range for recreational shooting. Certified instructors will guide women through target practice with pistols, rifles and shotguns. Denison said the range has offered several similar courses in previous years.
“This is a little different, but it’s along the same lines of bringing in groups that want to learn to shoot or want to learn to shoot better,” Denison said. “It’s just a case of encouraging women to participate.”
Both courses will be held this August, and will be capped at 25 people. Denison said no specific dates were set yet, but he hopes to have them out by the end of construction.
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