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ongoing habitat mitigation work today, CPW has
invested approximately 3,000 personnel hours
and over $100,000, from the initial response
to current work restoring the burned area. The
agency says additional work and expenses are
still ahead.
Agency personnel have also been working with a
Burned Area Emergency Response team to look
at potential risks associated with the burn area.
The BAER team assessment focused on immine-
nent post-fire threats including debris flow from
any weather events that could pose a threat
to public safety, natural resources or cultural
resources.
¡°I firmly believe this has always been a safe
range,¡± said Romatzke. To simply say ¡®close the
range or move it,¡¯ is not a fair, or workable solu-
tion at the moment.
That said, I do want to make it clear we intend
to work on making it better going forward. We
are confident we can, and will continue to make
important improvements to address concerns.¡±
Romatzke says it is important for the public to
understand the conversation about the range is
not over.
¡°We are still committed to working alongside
the residents of this community to find common
ground,¡± he said, ¡°That includes a discussion
about the benefits and the drawbacks of a pos-
sible relocation in the future. Our door is always
open to those who wish to discuss concerns in a
constructive, respectful manner.¡±
For more information about range operations
contact the CPW office in Glenwood Springs at
970.247.2920
CPW is an enterprise agency, relying primarily
on license sales, state parks fees and registra-
tion fees to support its operations, including:
41 state parks and more than 350 wildlife areas
covering approximately 900,000 acres, manage-
ment of fishing and hunting, wildlife watching,
camping, motorized and non-motorized trails,
boating and outdoor education. CPW¡¯s work
contributes approximately $6 billion in total eco-
nomic impact annually throughout Colorado
and stances of all involved.
It¡¯s important to take into account
how the fire started, how long the
range has been here and how many
people have used it safely and with-
out incident, many from the time
they were kids through adulthood.
I cannot in good conscience deny
the use of this range to people that
follow the rules and use the range
as intended, including hunters, Boy
Scouts, 4H shooting teams, recre-
ational shooters and law enforce-
ment personnel.¡±
Romatzke says going forward, his
goal is to make the range safer and
for it to continue to be a vital part of
the Roaring Fork community while
discussions about the future of range
continue.
Since the evening of the fire through
Nature & Wildlife
2018 October/November
Pg 10 - The Sunshine Express
CPW has performed upgrades at the
Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range
in preparation for reopening
CPW reopens the Basalt State Wildlife Area
shooting range to the public
BASALT, CO: After extensive, internal staff
discussions and weeks of listening to public
comments, including comments expressed dur-
ing two meetings in Basalt with more than 400
people in attendance, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
reopened the Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting
range to the public September 15.
The Basalt State Wildlife Area shooting range
hours will be 10a-7p, Monday, Wednesday, Fri-
day, and 9a-5p on Saturday and Sunday, until
further notice.
The range closed after two individuals using pro-
hibited incendiary tracer ammunition allegedly
started the nearly 13,000-acre Lake Christine
Fire the evening of July 2. Both suspects are fac-
ing felony arson charges.
In preparation for reopening, CPW technicians
are in the process of implementing several up-
grades at the range, including the installation of
fire extinguishers, improvements to the backstop
and the permanent removal of vegetation and
brush.
CPW staff are working closely with the local fire
district to conduct a site tour and review all fire
mitigation and prevention work performed to
date to make sure the range is safe to open.
In addition, the agency is working with the Roar-
ing Fork Valley Sportsmen¡¯s Association to enlist
Range Safety Officers who will help monitor the
range during hours of operation.
CPW plans additional upgrades in the near
future, many derived from input received from
the public at the meetings and suggestions from
range users.
In addition, NW Regional Manager JT Romatzke
says CPW will convene a steering committee to
continue looking for long term options and solu-
tions and make more permanent decisions in
approximately 6 months.
¡°We recognize the concern reopening brings
for some, but my decision to reopen the range
comes with the consideration for what¡¯s hap-
pened and our path forward. When the facts are
considered, I believe this is the right thing to do,¡±
said Romatzke. ¡°The public needs safe, struc-
tured ranges where they can use firearms and
CPW will respond to that need in a responsible
manner.¡±
Romatzke says public comments received by
CPW were an important part of the decision
making process; however, he took a variety of
additional factors into consideration before con-
cluding the range is safe and ready to reopen,
including the overall history of the range.
He says the range has been in the same location
for approximately 70 years and used by several
thousand recreational shooters with no incidents
until 2012. That year, a two-acre fire burned a
portion of the area above the range.
An investigation by the Eagle County Sheriff¡¯s
office indicated a discharged round may have
caused the fire. Upon additional examination,
CPW officials believe the fire may have instead
been caused by a discarded, lit cigarette.
¡°The most recent fire was extremely unfor-
tunate for the community and for CPW, and I
truly sympathize with those whose homes were
threatened or destroyed,¡± said Romatzke. ¡°I have
looked at this from every angle and I¡¯ve spent
countless hours analyzing the facts, emotions
Upgraded Shooting Range
ANS inspections protect Colorado waters
from invasive mussels entering on boats
WALSENBURG, CO, Sept. 26, 2018: With the
summer boating season nearing its end, Colora-
do Parks and Wildlife reported Wednesday it had
intercepted 47 boats contaminated by invasive
zebra and quagga mussels in 2018, the agency¡¯s
10th year of protecting Colorado¡¯s waters with
its Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) inspection
and decontamination program.
¡°This Winter Please Help¡±
ANS inspectors stopped everything from boats
teeming with mussels to a boat with a single zebra
mussel, the size of a pebble, at Lathrop State Park.
Like most of the other contaminated vessels, the
boat stopped at Lathrop had just come from Lake
Powell.
¡°Of the 47 boats that were intercepted, 36 came
from Lake Powell,¡± said CPW¡¯s Elizabeth Brown,
Invasive Species Coordinator. ¡°This is a far greater
number then we have ever seen in the past. Our
previous statewide annual record was 26.¡±
Colorado has intercepted more than 145 boats
infested with adult mussels since the ANS Program
began in 2008.
Initially, most infected boats came from the Great
Lakes, Mississippi River and other Eastern states.
In recent years, more infected boats are coming
from the Lower Colorado River, which includes Lake
Powell, a Colorado River reservoir that straddles
the Utah-Arizona state line. It¡¯s a popular destina-
tion for many Colorado boaters and it is one of
several western U.S. waters severely infected with
invasive quagga mussels.
CPW considers invasive mussels to be a significant
threat to Colorado¡¯s water users, which includes
recreation users as well as drinking water, hydro-
power and agricultural users.
To fight the threat, CPW worked collaboratively
with partners and Colorado lawmakers to pass the
Mussel-Free Colorado Act last spring.
On April 24, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the
act into law, providing $2.4 million for the ANS
program for 2019 and beyond. CPW Director Bob
Broscheid declared its passage ¡°a huge win for
protecting Colorado¡¯s water.¡±
Brown said CPW¡¯s ANS inspectors have logged
435,409 inspections requiring 13,691 decontami-
nations in 2018, to date.
¡°We remain one of only a few states in the West
that are free of adult zebra and quagga mussels,¡±
Brown said. ¡°Our success is a credit to our diligent
ANS inspectors and to Colorado¡¯s boating public.
Our program would not work without their coop-
eration and commitment to protecting Colorado¡¯s
waters from invasive species.¡±
CPW has made ANS inspections a priority because
of the extreme threat posed by zebra and quagga
mussels to reservoir infrastructure and drinking
water systems.
The mussels are prolific, infesting waters by the
billions, quickly clogging water-delivery systems
for irrigation and power generation. Utility com-
panies with mussel infestations spend millions
each year to keep their systems functioning after
an infestation. Those costs can be passed on to
the consumer in the form of higher electricity and
water use rates.
Water quality declines with mussel infestations and
they degrade beaches, docks, buoys and boats.
ANS inspectors have intercepted boats encrusted
with billions of mussels in various stages of their
life cycle.
Brown urged boaters to remain vigilant even as
the most popular boating season ends and many
reservoirs transition to an honor system for ANS
inspections.
¡°It is critical our boating public continues to inspect
their watercrafts for mussels and other invasive
aquatic nuisance species,¡± Brown said. ¡°Eradicating
an adult mussel infestation in an open water body
is nearly impossible.