Elk need glass cleared from Minturn gun range | VailDaily.com

Elk need glass cleared from Minturn gun range

Dustin Racioppi
Minturn, CO Colorado

MINTURN, Colorado ” Two Elk Shooting Range in Minturn, Colorado has come a long way in recent months thanks to the efforts of the Minturn Shooter’s Association and volunteers.

The washing machines and other unwanted household items are gone. And since the group has organized monthly cleanups, members have said shooters have been more mindful of their surroundings.

But the association is making one last push to make the area safe for its winter inhabitants ” elk. The cleanup is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Mathew Bayley, a member of the association and a shooting instructor, said leftover shards of glass still scatter the range and pose a threat to the elk who will be making their way down to the range soon.

“I know there’s glass out there. We have to get it and we need to get it,” Bayley said. “We’re trying to get everybody in the valley aware … We’re asking for their help with this project.”

Bayley said it will take a scrimmage-line-type of effort from volunteers to make the range glass free. He hopes to have 15 people in each of the range’s four stalls armed with rakes, gloves and cardboard boxes.

And the effort, Bayley said, has nothing to do with personal feelings towards guns or the range.

“This isn’t about supporting shooters. This is to support the elk,” he said. “Hate guns on Sunday, but help us clean the glass.”

Michelle Hall, of Vail, has helped in several cleanups at the range, and said she’d feel a lot better knowing the grounds were safer this winter once the range closes down to shooters.

“We try to sweep off the rocks and get the glass off. We do what we can,” she said. “This is our last chance to get out there and get as much as we can because they’ll be migrating.”

Even though 76-year-old Tom Jost has participated in every cleanup since they started earlier this year, he said this last one is just as important as the first, when the group hauled away tons of trash in order to keep the range open.

“It’s important that we get it as clean as possible before the elk take over down there,” he said. “I wouldn’t want them to ingest that and if they lay down in that, I wouldn’t want them to get cut and infected.”

Whatever people’s motives are for coming out Saturday, Bayley just wants to see the volunteers. “This is a community uniting,” he said. “It is arguably the prettiest range in the country. It would be a shame if we lost it because we didn’t take care of it. And we’ve already proven that we can.”

The cleanup will be held at 9 a.m., Nov. 15, at Two Elk Shooting Range in Minturn. Bayley recommends bringing gloves, rakes, shovels and cardboard boxes.

Dustin Racioppi can be reached at (970)748-2936 or dracioppi@vaildaily.com.

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