2 men cited for allegedly firing assault rifles on Seedhouse Road near Clark
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Forest Service rangers issued citations to two men Saturday for allegedly shooting assault rifles on Seedhouse Road near the Hinman Park Campground, north of Steamboat Springs.
A group of nearby campers were alarmed by the men, who reportedly were shooting into a trailhead that leads to a popular climbing area moments before people walked down the trail.
Just before 5 p.m. Saturday, Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies received a call from a man who was camping in the area and reported the incident.
Byrne Powers, a longtime Steamboat resident, was playing cards with some friends, waiting out a thunderstorm, when he heard a loud crack from the roadside just 20 yards away.
“We thought it was lighting,” Powers said.
But then he heard the noise again, then again: “crack, crack, crack.”
Powers saw an Audi parked on the road and two young men, in their late teens or early 20s, firing automatic rifles into the hillside.
“I ran out there and started screaming at them,” Powers said. “They were shooting indiscriminately.”
Powers has camped in the area numerous times and said where the men were shooting was a trailhead popular among climbers. When he confronted the men, Powers said one of them fired several rounds across the hillside before throwing the gun in the back of the car. Then the men drove away.
About 30 minutes after they left, Powers saw two people walk down the trail where the men had been shooting.
“They could have killed somebody,” Powers said.
A deputy and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer pulled over the two men as they were driving toward Clark along Seedhouse Road, according to Lt. Ryan Adrian with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement released the men because the shooting incident occurred on U.S. Forest Service land, but the deputy and officer alerted a forest ranger to follow up with the case.
Aaron Voos, a spokesperson for the Forest Service, said the men later received citations for shooting so close to the road.
According to Colorado gun laws, a firearm may not be fired within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or an occupied area. People also may not shoot guns on or across National Forest roads.
“They would need to have been 50 feet from the road (to fire a gun),” Voos explained.
He said the citation is similar to receiving a speeding ticket and usually results in a monetary fine. Such citations can carry up to a $230 fine, according to Voos.
He added that it is not uncommon for people to shoot guns on Forest Service land, but they usually do not cause issues.
“The vast majority of people do it safely and correctly,” he said.
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