Citizens against a shooting range at Graneros Gorge. The Colorado City Metro Board is considering approving a 30 year lease of the Graneros Gorge Park, the area around the famed gazebo that overlooks the Gorge, for an outdoor shooting range. The lease would be for $1,200 a year for 30 years. After 30 years, the club would have 400 days to clean up the lead and the site. According to the presentation October 10, the range is scheduled to be supervised by certified Range Safety Officers during most busy hours, but there will be times when it is unsupervised. Berms surrounding the shooting area are anticipated to be 20 feet high. There would be a public access path to the gazebo so it could still be enjoyed, along with the rifle, pistol and shotgun fire right next to it. The land on the west side and over the hill to the north of Graneros Gorge Park consists of about 2,000 SOLD residential lots on which homes at this time have not been constructed. It is NOT vacant land. That area has a potential population of 3,000 to 5,000 residents who already own their land. District 70 already owns the land for a school in that development. That leaves about 45 acres of park land along the top of the Gorge on which the shooting ranges could be constructed. That is a lot of activity on 45 acres. In comparison, Rivers Edge range in Avondale, about 35 miles away, is located on 500 acres. Rivers Edge holds classes and offers certifications. It is open to the public with an hourly fee or they have annual memberships. We are against the location of the Graneros Gorge area for the purpose of a shooting range for the following reasons: The area is currently and has been in the past used as a park for the citizens of Colorado City, Pueblo County and visitors to our area. The area is available to hike, picnic, horseback ride, photograph, etc. This area has been advertised as a park in real estate sales brochures and as a visitors site as published in The Greenhorn Valley Guide and the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway publication. The archeological significance of the Graneros Gorge and surrounding area is profound. Early inhabitants of the area have been documented as a prehistoric site (Bellwood site AD 395-505, Wikipedia) as well as "woodland culture" peoples sometime before 1250 AD (Prof. Arnold Withers of Denver University). Further archeological discovery was made when a skull was unearthed and subsequent disclosure of what was believed to be an old Indian burial ground, but also scattered skeleton bones from original crypts. Upon additional visits to the isolated area, portions of a skeleton were found. Prof. William G. Buckles head of the Anthropology Department of Southern Colorado State College investigated the area. Speculation was that the crypt of Chief Cuerno Verde and his tribesmen may have been discovered (Pueblo Chieftain 1967). Wildlife abounds in the Gorge including antelope, deer, mountain lions, bear, hawks, falcons, golden eagles, and snakes have free roaming rights. In addition to the wildlife, cattle graze almost every day in the Gorge area. Birds of prey, some seen at the Gorge, are protected by state and federal laws with stiff penalties for disturbing them. Disturbing them includes scaring them off by firing weapons. The Pueblo Area Council of Governments in a 2002 report specifically identified the Graneros Gorge as an area that needs to be protected and remain an open space. We have no problem with having an established shooting range complex in the Greenhorn Valley. Our issue is with locating it at Graneros Gorge. We are the citizens who have the responsibility to protect this fragile and historic area.
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