David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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The Shooting Gallery

 

There are a great many things I don’t understand. Just for example, I don’t understand people who have so much status anxiety they think they have to put the name of their college in the back window of their car. The same people pay for a car and then spend the next eight years carrying around a piece of advertising for the dealer on the trunk.

No doubt about it. People do strange things. Take the shooting gallery down at the bottom of our beautiful canyon. It’s an acre of ground that used to have trees and flowers and now it looks like hell after the fire’s gone out because almost every day of the year people go there and shoot at targets, bottles, mattresses or old TV sets. You name it and it’s probably been shot at and left there for someone else to clean up. They used to shoot at the trees, but the trees were blasted into splinters about six years ago.

In April of 1988 I first wrote to the County and got an answer from then Captain of the Patrol Division, now Sheriff, George Epp. He said there had been  “numerous complaints over the years,” that it was the Forest Service's position  that “target shooting is permitted on the land,” and that “shooting at the location is legal, unless the shooters are using unsafe practices. If unsafe practices are being used, we ask you or anyone with knowledge of them to contact us and we will take appropriate enforcement action.”

I didn't understand that. Was I supposed to take names? Right. I'm supposed to walk up to  a guy with a cannon in his hand and say, “You’re using unsafe practices, fella.  Lemme have your name. I’m gonna report you to the Sheriff.” Sure.

I’ve had correspondence and conversations with Forester Mary Ann Chambers (September '88), H. Peter Wingle, the Director of Recreation and Lands (November 88), Raymond Benton, Forest Supervisor (December 88), F. Dale Robertson, Chief of the Forest Service (May and August '89), and several local members of the Forest Service, including Pam DeVore and John Heaton.

Finally I sent a letter to William Anthony, the newest local representative of the  Forest Service in Boulder. I sent that letter March 24th 1993, and he still hasn’t answered it. I pointed out, as I have to everyone from the Secretary of Agriculture (April '89, complete with pictures of the place) down to Mary Ann Chambers, that the place is dangerous, it has almost a ton of lead deposited in it every year (so far no agency has had the guts to sample the water) and it’s a garbage dump and  an eyesore. It seems to me that should have been enough to warrant some action, even out of a bureaucracy as obviously inefficient as the Forest Service.

Fortunately, I haven't been alone. Others have made similar complaints, and now Mr. Anthony says, as you may have read in the Boulder Daily Camera recently  and here in the WIND this month, the place will be closed within the month. Well, don’t hold your breath. In 1988 I was told the Forest Service would “look into the possibility of closing the area.” They weren’t really interested, however; both Wingle and Epp wrote that the place wasn’t dangerous:  “according to the Sheriff's records, there has never been an accidental shooting in the area,” Wingle wrote to me in December of 1988, and since then the record is still unblemished.

“How are things goin’?" somebody yelled to a man as he fell past the second-story window. “So far, so good,” he replied.

In 1989 I got a letter from Mr. Robertson, Chief of the Forest Service, after I sent the file and pictures to Agriculture Secretary Yeutter. His reply said, in part, “The Boulder District is currently studying the area for any resource damage and potential safety hazards. They will contact you about the future management of the area when the study is completed.” That was 1989. They didn’t  contact me.

In April of 1992 I managed to convince John Heaton and Mary Ann Chambers to visit the site. We looked around and came to the conclusion that, “Yup, this place is sure a mess.” That conclusion took four years.

Now another two years have gone by and it sounds as though Mr. Anthony is serious and the place will finally be closed down. If it is, it will have taken a very long time to accomplish something that, from the outset, should have been done immediately. As I said, there are a great many things I just don’t understand. [The site was closed and has quickly reverted to its natural state.]

 

 

Columns

© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:

Introduction

Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]

Electricity

Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]

Hiking

Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders

Elevators

The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]

Visitors

Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird

Garbage

A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]

Weather

Fences

Commuting

Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac

June

Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer

Visitors

Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon

“Whiteout”

The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley

Infestations

On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]

Walking

Rumors About a Visit by the Pope

Progress?

More About Fences

Woodpeckers

The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government

Risks

Airports

Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke

 

The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983

Carpentry

Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House

Waving

The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?

Dogs

Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving

Garbage

Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”

Spring

An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins

Summer

The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI

 

 

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