April 14, 2006

Trashing Our Shooting Areas

(Cross-Posted from FreedomSight)


Outlaw target practice in forests: An editorial piece:
Undoubtedly, Boulder Ranger Christine Walsh, who is considering making changes to how and where recreational shooting is permitted in the 160,000 acres of Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forests, will be unpopular if she bans recreational shooting altogether. But shooting is the No. 1 complaint for the Boulder ranger district, and trashed-out impromptu shooting ranges in the forest are unsightly and dangerous. Careless recreational shooters can also spark fires, such as last month's 6-acre wildfire in Left Hand Canyon.
Litter Leads To Possible Recreational Shooting Ban:
The U.S. Forest Service is considering a ban on recreational shooting in Boulder County due to excessive littering.

Don Weber, a recreational shooter at a popular shooting range in Lefthand Canyon, said he is tired of seeing the trash collected at the site.

"There's a couple gas grills found up here, a couple fire extinguishers, TV, there's a fridge," Weber said. "People go to national forests for the beauty of it and this area right here is anything but beautiful."

The Forest Service says trash is just the beginning of its troubles with recreational shooters.
New range, total forest shooting ban under consideration:
The U.S. Forest Service, in the form of Boulder Ranger Christine Walsh, is considering changes to how and where recreational shooting is permitted on the 160,000 acres of Arapaho- Roosevelt National Forest she's charged with managing. And faced with increasing numbers of people driving to the forest to hike, bike, drive and shoot, a total ban on recreational shooting is now on the table.

Hunting would not be affected regardless of the decision.

"We are going to make a decision about what parts of the district are appropriate for recreational shooting and which ones are not," Walsh said Thursday. "We don't have our minds made up."

Among the options being considered are a total ban; creation of a formal, managed shooting range; or no changes. Walsh is calling a series of public meetings over the next few months to gather input from as many people as possible, seeking solutions she and her staff may not have considered.
Spotted Tail clean up planned:
Shooting can also be hard on trees, said Schumacher, something that is born out by a casual observation of several trees at Spotted Tail that have apparently been deliberately felled by repeated gunfire
I really don't know what to do with these types of people. Well, I know what I'd like to do to them, but such things aren't allowed these days. Nearly every time I go out to a public area to target shoot, I'm just struck by the degree of trash, and I haven't ever been to the shooting area in Left Hand Canyon. Out on the Pawnee Grasslands, last time I was there, there was a car door. Everywhere I've been, the ground has been littered with shotgun shells and spent cases. People leave ad-hoc targets all over the place: plastic jugs, soda cans, clay pigeons, computer monitors, tail lights ... you name it. I find it disgusting.

So, how do we, the responsible shooters, deal with those who are irresponsible? Those who don't understand that with freedom comes responsibility? Really, I think that most of these people just don't care. And I don't know a remedy for that. To make matters worse, it's a bit touchy bringing the subject up. After all, they're packing heat. Now, I don't want to sound as if I'm echoing the sentiments of the gun-ban crowd, who think that anyone who's carrying a gun is a mental case just waiting to go off. But the sorts of people who bring trash into the National Forests and just leave it there are of a mentality that I prefer not to provoke. And I have no faith that starting an argument with these types would be productive anyways. The mark of a responsible gun owner is that he avoids trouble when possible. I dislike confrontation.

I'd suggest posting signs at the areas being used for shooting, but these assholes would just shoot the signs.

The only thing I can think of is to organize periodic range cleanup trips, where volunteers in the shooting community would periodically clean things up. This is a big job, especially at the more popular shooting areas. And it truly sucks that those of us who are responsible shooters should have to clean up after the inconsiderate cretins who see nothing wrong with leaving all manner of trash laying around. But I'd be willing to do it. It'd be similar to the "Adopt a Highway" program. I suppose I can be a little optimistic and hope that such efforts might lead others to clean up after themselves — a "lead by example" sort of a thing. But sadly, I suspect that most, if not all, of the litterbug crowd will simply think, "Oh, there's people cleaning this up now, so it's no big deal if I leave this junk up here."

Is something such as this too much to ask of the shooting community? If it is, then we'll just have to live with there being fewer and fewer places for us to shoot. Posted by Jed at April 14, 2006 07:18 PM | TrackBack

So, when are the meetings planned for?

Posted by: bob at April 15, 2006 10:06 PM

None of the articles mentioned what the meeting schedule was.

Posted by: jed at April 16, 2006 06:31 AM
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