The Craig National Guard Training Site remedial activities were originally being addressed by the Army National Guard Directorate (ARNG) under the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP). In 2019, the Department of Defense indicated the site was not eligible under the MMRP and future work will be conducted by the Army National Guard under its Non-Department of Defense Owned Non-Operational Defense Site program, a nationwide program designed to identify former training areas where the National Guard used munitions in training exercises. We and the Army National Guard have developed a plan for cleanup and providing public education to protect users. This work is ongoing.
The three “R’s” of munitions safety
- Recognizing when you may have encountered a munition is key to reducing the risk of injury or death.
- If you encounter or suspect you’ve encountered a munition, consider it extremely dangerous.
- Munitions are sometimes hard to see and identify. They may resemble:
- A pointed pipe.
- A soda can.
- A baseball.
- A muffler.
- Other metal objects.
- They may be:
- Visible on the surface.
- Exposed by erosion or fires.
- They may look new or old, be complete or in parts, be found alone or in groups.
- Any suspect items should be considered dangerous, regardless of size or apparent age.
- If you encounter or suspect you’ve encountered a munition, don’t touch, move or disturb it.
- Immediately and carefully leave the area, following the same path on which you entered.
- If you can, mark the general area — not the munition — in some manner (e.g., with a hat, piece of cloth, or tying a piece of plastic to a bush or tree branch).
- Call 911 immediately.
- Notify local law enforcement of what you saw and where you saw it.
- If you or someone you know may have collected munitions-related items as souvenirs, please notify law enforcement immediately so trained professionals can remove the items safely.
The Craig National Guard Training Site (CNTS) includes two munitions response sites: the Craig Small Arms Range MRS and the Sand Wash Artillery Range, located outside of Craig, Colorado. A remedial investigation and feasibility study was completed for both MRS in 2012, which characterized the nature and extent of munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and ensure the protection of public health and the environment.
Craig Small Arms Range Munitions Response Site
The Former Craig Small Arms Range Munitions Response Site (MRS) was a 47-acre small arms range located at Cedar Mountain, approximately 6 miles northwest of Craig, CO. The Craig Small Arms Range MRS property was permitted to the Colorado Army National Guard (COARNG) by the BLM for training purposes between 1956 and 1978. The COARNG trained with a variety of small arms at the range, including: .30 caliber carbine, .30 caliber rifle (M1 rifle), 7.62 millimeter (mm) (M14 rifle), .45 caliber pistol, and .30, .45, and .50 caliber machine guns target practice. They also fired 40mm practice rifle grenades and reportedly high explosive (HE) 40mm rifle grenades on occasion.
The BLM leased the land to the Bears Ears Sportsman Club (BESC) for use as a private small arms range. A right-of-entry, valid through July 2022, has been issued by BLM to perform remedial action activities at the MRS. The range has been reconfigured for use by the BESC, and no structures or range features remain from its use by COARNG. Much of the easily accessible terrain is occupied with buildings, firing lines, earthen berms, and target areas associated with the BESC. The down-range portions of the MRS are steep and undeveloped and are accessible for nonintrusive recreational activities. DoD military munitions and Munitions Debris (MD) have been identified during previous investigations at the MRS, during conduct of the Remedial Investigation (RI) and Time Critical Removal Action (TCRA).
In 2016, a Time Critical Removal Action was completed to remove munitions and explosive of concerns potentially presenting an explosive hazard discovered within a 16.4 acre portion of the Craig Small Arms Range that presented an imminent threat to the public, accessing the property through the BSEC. The TCRA included surface and subsurface MEC clearance on a total of 16.58 acres within the 40-mm range.
In 2020, CDPHE and the Army National Guard finalized the Record of Decision to complete remedial actions at the Craig Small Arms Range MRS. The Selected Remedy consists of one-time DoD military munitions removal and implementation of land use controls (LUCs), after the removal action. Under this alternative, LUCs will be implemented including ARNG-directed annual educational awareness activities, warning signs explaining the DoD military munitions hazards, restrictions, and IC requirements.
Sand Wash Artillery Range MRS
The Craig Sand Wash Practice Rocket Range MRS is a 186-acre practice rocket range located approximately 45 miles west of Craig in Moffat County, Colorado, that was used by the Colorado Army National Guard (COARNG) for various training-related needs between February 8, 1956, and April 25, 1978, under a use permit granted by BLM. In April 1978, the Department of the Army elected to not renew the property lease from BLM. The Sand Wash Practice Rocket Range MRS is currently used for recreational activities, with natural/cultural resources protection, recreation, and transportation and access/travel management restrictions being administered by BLM. The Sand Wash Practice Rocket Range is managed by BLM and is located within and adjacent to the Sand Wash Herd Management Area, where a wild horse herd ranges in size from 163 to 362 animals. The area is used for non-intrusive recreational activities, including horseback riding, camping, rock hounding, and large and small game hunting. Remaining downrange portions of the MRS are steep, undeveloped, and accessible for non-intrusive recreational activities. Potential future land use at the Sand Wash Practice Rocket Range MRS is expected to remain generally unchanged and would include continued non-intrusive recreational uses.
A Time Critical Removal Action (link to document handle 4906034) was undertaken at the Craig Sand Wash Practice Rocket Range Munitions Response Site (MRS) of the former Sand Wash Artillery Range Munitions Response Area, located approximately 45 miles west of Craig in Moffat County, Colorado. The TCRA removed material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH) that is on the ground surface and that breaches the ground surface from the shallow subsurface at the site. The TCRA substantially reduced the potential for humans and wildlife to be exposed to MPPEH.