Gypsum Shooting Sports Park reopens for normal hours: 7 a.m. to dusk every day
The Lake Christine and Bocco wildfires this summer were both sparked by illegal use of targets and ammunition.
At the Bocco fire, people were using exploding targets, which sparked tinder-dry grasses. Suspects are still being sought in that fire.
The Lake Christine fire was sparked from “tracer” ammunition. That ammunition burns as it flies through the air so shooters can more accurately track where bullets are heading.
In that fire, El Jebel residents Allison Marcus, 22, and Richard Miller, 23, have been charged with fourth-degree arson, a Class 4 felony, and firing woods or prairie, a Class 6 felony.
Exploding targets and tracer ammunition are always prohibited on public land.
GYPSUM — The sound of gunfire is again echoing at the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park.
Town officials last week reopened the park — owned by the town and operated by the Eagle Valley Rod & Gun Club — for its normal hours of 7 a.m. to dusk every day. The range was closed in July in the aftermath of the Lake Christine and Bocco wildfires. Both of those fires were sparked in shooting areas.
The Gypsum range in mid-August reopened with limited hours and a management plan intended to keep a range officer on site whenever the facility was open.
Given that range officers are volunteers, that limited hours of operation.
Club board member Dick Mayne said the intent is to have range officers on site as often as possible — generally on weekends and when the shotgun range is open to activities on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Mayne said local firearms instructor Mathew Bayley is frequently at the range for classes and other activities.
“He helps when he can,” Mayne said.
The Gypsum range reopens as hunters start sighting in their firearms for autumn big-game seasons.
“It’s exciting to have the range back open and business back to normal levels,” said Matt Solomon, owner of Alpine Arms in Eagle. “People are really excited to shoot again.”
Solomon said a group of local shooters has been working with officials from Eagle County and the Bureau of Land Management to investigate creating other designated shooting areas in the county.
Shooting on public land remained legal even during the summer’s Stage 2 fire restrictions, But, Solomon said, using a designated range “does a lot to protect shooters.”
The only designated ranges now are in Gypsum and near Minturn, on U.S. Forest Service property. The Minturn range has also reopened.
The area near Wolcott where the Bocco fire started — the result of shooters illegally using exploding targets — isn’t a designated shooting range, but it’s been commonly used as one. The BLM closed the public land in that area following the Bocco fire, but it has also again reopened to the public.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2930.