We’re currently facing the closing of many public lands available for shooters in the State of Utah. These lands provide safe, free, and accessible space for shooters to practice their hobby and craft, and should continue to remain open. I’ve sent them the following letter and would encourage you do the same even if you don’t live in Utah. If they close the lands here they most certainly will consider doing it in other states as well.
I’m writing to add my voice to the voice of hundreds, if not thousands, of shooters in Utah.
Let me begin by saying that I understand the concern the BLM is trying address and appreciate the efforts to help keep our land clean and safe, so that it can be enjoyed freely by the public for many years to come. Knowing that this is a common goal of the BLM, shooters, and many others who use it, I hope that we find a solution that allows for the most expansive use of the property instead of one that unfairly restricts a specific group.
The problems that have occurred regarding the use of the BLM property in regards to shooters is two fold from I understand. The unnecessary and damaging and littering, and the potential for fire risk.
The first and most pressing issue is that of littering. Unfortunately a small minority group of casual shooters leave their target trash behind, either out of laziness or ignorance for the damage it causes. I can assure you that these individuals are a small portion of those who use the land and do not represent the actions of the many responsible shooters who utilize the property for safe recreational shooting. Having participated in many groups, clubs, etc., I can attest that the shooting community not only encourages shooters to clean up after themselves but also regularly organizes mass clean ups to pick up the trash left by others. One such clean up is going to happen before the meeting to discuss this issue.
The second issue is that of fire. Unfortunately a small minority also chooses to ignore the regulations in place that restrict the use of incendiary ammunition and exploding targets. Also unfortunately, it only takes one individual out of thousands to start a fire and put both the environment and other individuals’ safety at risk with a wildfire. But again this is a small minority and does not represent the attitude or actions of the majority of shooters in the area.
Both of these issues need to be addressed and resolved. However, closing the lands to responsible shooting will not resolve these issues. Litter and fire safety is a matter of individuals’ attitudes about not access to lands. Any solution should focus on changing these attitudes so that those who do use the land responsibly can continue to do so.
Some of these solutions could include community outreach, shooter responsibility courses, working more closely with local groups to manage the area, stronger enforcement of current regulations, etc. These are just a few of the ideas that can lead to long term success while keeping these lands open, clean, and safe. I’m sure with continued cooperation between the public and BLM even more ideas can be implemented.
So I ask that you keep these lands open so that those who make up the vast majority of the shooting community and many others, can continue to enjoy their recreational hobby safely, and responsibly. Thank you for your time.