Release Date: Sep 9, 2021
Coronado_National_Forest wrote:The Coronado National Forest (CNF), Sierra Vista Ranger District, is proposing to issue a permanent closure order that will prohibit recreational shooting in the canyons located along the eastern side of the Huachuca Mountains, within the wildland-urban interface. The proposed closure area is close to several densely populated communities including Sierra Vista, Hereford, and Palominas. These communities include private land, homes, businesses, and multiple other structures. Recreational shooting in this area close to these communities poses an extreme risk to public health and safety and includes the increased risk of wildfire from ricocheting ammunition. Recreational shooting in the canyons located along the eastern side of the Huachuca Mountains has generated numerous conflicts between and among forest users and private landowners and has created unacceptable damage to natural resources.
The proposed closure area would extend one quarter mile off both sides of National Forest System roads occurring within Ash, Lutz, Stump, Hunter, Miller, Carr, and Brown Canyons. This approach mirrors previous temporary closures which have proven successful in reducing risk to the recreating public on the forest and to adjacent private landowners. With the permanent closure in place, approximately 98.3% of the Sierra Vista Ranger District would remain available and open to recreational shooting, consistent with federal and state recreational shooting laws and regulations. Hunting with a valid state permit in all east side canyons would still be allowed. The proposed size of the closure area has been limited to the minimum size necessary to meet the objective of protecting public health and safety.
The proposal follows the process outlined in the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, and the Forest Service directives in the Law Enforcement and Investigations Handbook 5309.11, Chapter 30. Advance notice of the opportunity to provide public comment on the proposed closure is being provided until September 17, 2021. The CNF is requesting comments within the 60-day comment period starting September 17, 2021. The agency’s preference is that comments be submitted electronically through the Comment and Analysis Response Application (CARA): https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=NP-2890. However, written comments can be sent to Celeste Kinsey, District Ranger, Sierra Vista Ranger District, Coronado National Forest, 4070 S. Avenida Saracino, Hereford, AZ 85615. Additional information can also be found at www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/regulations-policies.