by Dan Benford
Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Division
Many people understand that the Army manages the training lands at Fort Carson and at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site, but what does managing the land really mean?
It means the Army understands it must take care of training resources in order to continue to have a place to train to high readiness levels, today and into the future — that the most important training resource is the land itself.
Fort Carson is required by laws and regulations to protect and preserve the natural, cultural and historic resources on military training lands, which ultimately ensures that Army lands are able to provide viable training opportunities for years to come.
Maintaining and sustaining training lands takes an integrated management approach that requires the expertise, dedication and cooperation of many people from several organizations and agencies.
Myriad Fort Carson programs are involved in ensuring that training is done in a manner that sustains the land, including:
• Land rehabilitation and re-vegetation
• Land condition monitoring and analysis studies
• Cultural resources surveys and protection activities
• Wildlife and habitat assessments
• National Environmental Policy Act analysis
• Storm-water management
• Wild land fire mitigation
• Noxious weed control studies and initiatives
• Threatened and endangered species monitoring and protection
• Wildlife enforcement
• Erosion control
• Fugitive dust mitigation initiatives
• Water quality assessments and efforts
• Pollution prevention measures
• Environmental compliance and monitoring inspections
• Migratory Bird Treaty Act efforts
• Compatible use initiatives
• Emissions and air pollutant monitoring
• Noise monitoring
• Facility and utility repairs and services
• Road maintenance work
• Security enforcement
• Monitoring outdoor recreational use
On a daily basis, military training is not the only activity going on at training areas. It is not uncommon to have military training taking place in a training area next to a conservation, preservation or land rehabilitation effort.
Before any military training is authorized to take place on
Fort Carson’s training resources, there are several mandatory educational classes required for the units training downrange. These requirements include: the Range Safety Officer Certification Course, Maneuver Damage Control Course and Environmental Protection Officer Course. These courses are designed to educate the key individuals from each training unit on the specific do’s and don’ts associated with conducting safe and controlled military training while remaining good stewards of the training resources and causing the least adverse impact as possible.
Ultimately, sustaining training lands is about taking care of available training resources so that Fort Carson can continue to provide those resources to train today’s Soldiers and future generations of Soldiers.