Parks and Wildlife to improve West Rifle range
The shooting range at the West Rifle Creek State Wildlife Area will be closed starting Monday as Colorado Parks and Wildlife begins major improvements to the range.
When completed, the improved range is expected to provide hunters and firearm enthusiasts with a safe, high-end public shooting area.
“The current range is not in the best shape, and these improvements are needed,” Area Wildlife Manager JT Romatzke said. “We are constantly working to provide the public with clean and safe shooting facilities, and anyone who has used this range in the past will greatly appreciate the upgrades.”
The $150,000 project is scheduled to address access, parking and walking areas and includes the construction of several new rifle and pistol lanes.
Parks and Wildlife officials said the range will be closed for approximately five to six weeks.
The rest of the wildlife area will remain open to the public during the construction phase.
In addition to hunters sighting in their scopes and target practice for firearms enthusiasts, the improvements will aid local law enforcement agencies by providing an appropriate and safe area for firearms training.
Romatzke said minor delays pushed the construction start date close to the approaching hunting seasons, but the overall goal will be worth any inconvenience.
“If construction proceeds as scheduled, we expect that shooters can resume using the facility by the end of September,” he said.
According to Parks and Wildlife, the majority of the funding is from sportsmen’s license dollars (game cash fund) with a small percentage coming from the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson federal aid funds, which are excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.
The project reflects a push by Parks and Wildlife to develop safe public shooting facilities, Parks and Wildlife spokesman Mike Porras said.
“One of our goals is to provide safe, clean and adequate shooting facilities for hunters and recreational shooters,” Porras said. “We recognize the demands for these facilities and are doing what we can to provide them.”
The West Rifle Creek State Wildlife Area is a 1,243-acre parcel along West Rifle Creek (Garfield County Road 252) about one mile west of Rifle Gap Reservoir.