Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator
On June 3, the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) began a 30-day public comment period to allow stakeholders to weigh-in on a proposed shooting sports pilot project to open four new recreational shooting microsites on public lands in Maricopa County, near Phoenix.
Recreational shooting sports have long been enjoyed by millions of Americans. Through the American System of Conservation Funding, recreational shooters have contributed billions of dollars to the conservation of cherished wildlife species, public land restoration, and hunter education through the Pittman-Robertson Act. Because of the rapid population growth in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, there has been a significant increase in demand for recreational shooting activities and facilities.
Consistent with Secretarial Order 3356, the proposed pilot project consists of the development and active management of four microsites by BLM, aimed at increasing access; safety; and natural resource stewardship of Arizona’s recreational shooters. The four proposed microsites are to be located near Saddleback Mountain, Box Canyon, Church Camp Road, and Narramore Road. The BLM states that the proposed pilot project will not change existing recreational shooting access or effect licensed hunting activities in the area.
In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and National Historic Preservation Act, the BLM is hosting two open-house public comment events. Members of the public are highly encouraged to attend, ask questions and provide input on the proposed project. This is the first and best opportunity for stakeholders’ voices to be heard and input incorporated into the project.
The first meeting is happening on June 11 from 6-8 pm and will be located at 201 E Centre Avenue at the Buckeye Community Center in Buckeye. The second meeting will be held on June 13 from 6-8 pm at 5500 Carefree Highway at the Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters in Phoenix.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?