New law to usher in Cameo shooting range
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be able to go ahead with the purchase of land to create a new multi-use shooting range in Mesa County thanks to a new law that goes into effect today.
That new law, partially sponsored by two Western Slope Republicans, Rep. Don Coram of Montrose and Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango, is designed to allow the state agency to purchase as many as 2,000 acres by 2020.
The division, however, doesn’t expect to need that much land, or take that much time, because it is eyeballing about 873 acres at the former Cameo power plant site on the west end of De Beque Canyon.
The new law allows the division to begin negotiations with that land’s owners, Xcel Energy and Snow Cap Mining Company.
“Now that this law is in effect, plans to build a modern, full use, competitive range in Mesa County can move forward,” Coram said. “I have seen firsthand how the shooting range in Montrose has helped the local economy in that area, and am glad to see this economic driver come to Mesa County.”
The facility is expected to have nearly 70 shooting positions, including for archery. It also is to include classroom space to hold shooting and hunter safety courses.
Mike Porras, spokesman for the division, said the new law will help the division secure the funding needed to purchase the land and build the facility.
He said the division’s goal is to secure the property by the end of the year, but added that it still may be a few more years before the project is complete.
“CPW will continue to work hard along with our many partners to make it happen sooner than later,” he said.
Another new law that went into effect today that also is aimed at helping rural areas such as Mesa County includes a plan that could allow for remote testimony before the Colorado Legislature.
Under this new law, introduced by Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, legislative staffers are to present to the executive committee, which is made up of lawmakers in leadership positions such as House speaker and Senate president, how allowing for remote testimony would work, if at all.
The staffers are expected to contact colleges and universities in certain areas such as Grand Junction to see about obtaining space, and estimate costs for the proper technology to allow citizens to testify before legislative committees on proposed bills.
The staffers are to propose how all that would work, especially considering that the Legislature hears testimony on numerous bills in numerous committees during its four-month session, which is from January to May.