When forest planning is a matter of life and death

In July, Glenn Martin was tragically killed by a stray bullet while camping at Rainbow Falls in the Pike National Forest. Martin was roasting marshmallows with his grandkids when a bullet hit him.”  The Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest has responded to increasing conflicts caused by urban sprawl and more shooters by proposing a forest plan amendment.

From the Arapaho-Roosevelt NF website:

Currently, the 1997 Forest Plan does not provide direction on how rec. sport shooting (RSS) should be managed. Due to increasing residential development, increased public participation in RSS and associated health and safety issues; the FS is considering amending the Forest Plan to include direction for managing RSS. This direction may include: (1)Developing Forest Plan goals, objectives, or desired conditions for RSS; (2) Identifying areas that are appropriate for dispersed recreational shooting; (3) Identifying areas suitable as designated shooting areas; and (4) Identifying areas where RSS would be prohibited for health and safety reasons. Lawful hunting activities would not be impacted.

I don’t remember this coming up in forest plans anywhere before, and the Forest should be commended for recognizing it as a land allocation issue.  Other national forests should take note when revising their plans.  (And/or is this yet another reason the Forest Service must “participate in planning efforts of … local governments” (36 CFR 219.4(a)(1)(iv) to discourage housing in inappropriate areas?)


3 thoughts on “When forest planning is a matter of life and death”

  1. Good for the Arapahoe-Roosevelt. In many places, unmanaged target shooting is a huge problem. It’s an issue that needs to be dealt with. Many units, though, are scared to death to even consider managing this use. Western Oregon BLM, for example, refuses to even acknowledge the problem exists.

  2. I recently attended a field trip on the Mt Hood NF where the situation was so bad on some districts that employees feared for their safety in the woods. The forest has taken a well-informed approach that involved law enforcement, natural resource specialists, and volunteers to develop a program to encourage responsible shooting and discourage irresponsible shooting. Putting things in a forest plan is a start, but I think you have to do more than that to really deal with the problem on a variety of levels and with a variety of approaches.

  3. The main thing is to DESIGNATE and CONSTRUCT approved shooting areas and make sure the public knows they exist. The bootleg areas existing now should be looked at hard for legitimization soonest.
    None of the Front Range forests ever got off the dime on this, even though there is a screaming need for it. The shooting situation from Pueblo to Erie on private lands is an utter joke, when I moved to Pewtown it took me FOREVER to find out how I could get on the Pueblo range’s wait list and then get signed up. Other shooters would come to matches and I learned how “lucky” I was.
    As for private lands, even old gravel pits, perfectly backdropped, run into the NIMBY phenomenon.


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