Forest Service Closes Recreation Areas to Target Shooting
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest closed areas to target shooting yesterday along Interstate 90 in the South Fork Snoqualmie River watershed and Middle Fork Road 56.
“Target shooters were firing in concentrated recreation use areas with multiple roads, campgrounds, trailheads and picnic areas, threatening public safety,” said Snoqualmie District Ranger Jim Franzel. He added that unsafe target shooting in those areas has increased over the past years, as well as associated environmental damage and shooting-related trash. This decision doesn’t affect hunting activities.
The forest temporarily closed the area two years ago and went through the National Environmental Policy Act process with public review and comment before making it permanent. The closure was expanded to include lands adjacent to the Middle Fork Road.
In the South Fork a narrow swath of valley bottom following the I-90 from exit 38 to the top of Snoqualmie Pass is closed. In the Middle Fork Snoqualmie a narrow swath of valley bottom starting where the Middle Fork road crosses the forest boundary at mile post 6.5 is closed to the road’s end at the Dingford Creek Trailhead. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie closure also includes lands adjacent to forest road 5640 from its junction with the Middle Fork Road to the Snoqualmie Lake Trailhead.
Violators can be fined up to $5,000 and or imprisoned up to six months in jail. Signs are posted marking closed areas. Visitors can get maps at North Bend Ranger District and Enumclaw Public Service Center that show where target shooting is prohibited. The closure order and maps can be viewed at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbs/forest-orders.