Colorado's largest outdoor public shooting range will open in El Paso County this week.
The Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex will open to shooting enthusiasts on Jan. 23. The 400-acre site is located on Fort Carson land just outside of post. Because the entrance to the shooting range is outside Gate 20, visitors will not have to enter the military base or register their weapons with Fort Carson to utilize the range.
On Saturday, public officials had the opportunity to test out the shooting range. Dave Rose, the public information officer for El Paso County, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that the partnership with Fort Carson makes Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex a unique facility.
"It's very exciting to see this come about because we were able to put something together using public and private partnerships. The Army and the county working together. It didn't cost a lot of money and we've got a tremendous facility," said Rose. "I think that's just a joy to be able to say, 'look what you can do if you work together.'"
Rose said the new range fills a void in the community that was left after the closure of the Rampart Shooting Range in the summer of 2009. The range closed after a 25-year-old Aurora man was killed in a shooting accident.
Rose said the community suffered without a safe place to shoot. "What resulted was a lot of random shootings," Rose said. "It really wasn't safe."
El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen said the county is thrilled with how the new range turned out.
"We have many recreational shooters, many families, different youth groups that do a lot of shooting sports and shooting training," Lathen said. "For them to have a facility to come to that is open and accessible and affordable and safe is something that's practically priceless."
The opening marks the completion of the first of a three-phase construction plan. The complex currently consists of seven shooting ranges with approximately 120 covered shooting positions. Three ranges are designated for rifles with distances from 300 to 500 yards. There are also four designated pistol ranges and one multi-position range prioritized for law enforcement and public safety training purposes.
One 1,250-yard-long shooting range will be for the exclusive use of law enforcement, Monday through Friday, but open to the public on weekends.
A small archery range will also be on site with plans to expand it as funding becomes available and a five-stand trap range is expected to be available in the spring for shotgun enthusiasts.
The second phase of the project will include the construction of five skeet & trap ranges and a clubhouse. The clubhouse will include a retail store, classrooms and offices.
For directions and hours of operation, call 719-896-6196 or click here to visit the website.