Game and Fish Commission urges BLM to allow dispersed recreation shooting on Ironwood Forest National Monument
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is requesting the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allow dispersed recreational shooting on the Ironwood Forest National Monument near Tucson.
Currently, the Bureau of Land Management preferred alternative in the draft Ironwood Forest National Monument Resource Management Plan would prohibit the use and discharge of firearms except for permitted or authorized hunting activities.
The Game and Fish Commission is adamant that banning recreational shooting within the new monument is not an acceptable management alternative and has sent BLM officials a resolution asking them to reconsider their preferred management alternative and continue allowing safe recreational shooting.
“The Game and Fish Commission opposes restrictions on recreational shooting on any public land in Arizona and is hopeful that this resolution will assist the BLM in its decision-making process,” said Commission Chairman Michael Golightly.
The Game and Fish Commission also requested that the BLM management plan for the monument define dispersed recreational shooting as, “Any shooting that is carried out in a safe manner, does not cause resource damage, and does not result in litter.”
The BLM is planning to have a public meeting on its draft plan for the Ironwood Forest National Monument from 10 a.m. to noon on May 19 at the Pima College West Campus, 2202 W. Anklam Road, in Tucson. For more information, call the Tucson BLM office at 520-258-7200.
During its April meeting in Phoenix, the commission pointed out there are indiscriminant shooters who do cause problems and they should be dealt with by law enforcement action. “There needs to be places for legitimate recreational shooters who conscientiously avoid shooting up the landscape and who don’t leave litter,” Golightly said.
The commission is requesting the BLM develop a law enforcement coordination plan for the Ironwood Forest National Monument in partnership with local law enforcement agencies to address issues associated with indiscriminant shooting that causes problems.
Josh Avey, the department’s habitat chief, explained to the commission that Game and Fish Department personnel have worked closely with the Tucson BLM office and consistently submitted comments to the planners, both verbally and in writing, supporting target shooting as a legitimate recreational pursuit on the Monument. However, when a preferred alternative was proposed by the BLM recently, it contained a prohibition against such recreational shooting.
The commission also suggested the BLM refer to the findings of the final report issued in June 2006 on the Tucson Basin Shooting on Public Lands Workshop Project that was conducted by the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to develop recreational shooting alternatives. To download a printable version of this paper, please click on the following link: Final Report, Tucson Basin Shooting on Public Lands Workshops, June 2006.