Forest Service Proposes Closing Recreation Areas to Target Shooting
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest seeks public comment May 26 to June 24 on proposed closures to target shooting on the Interstate 90 (South Fork) Highway and the Middle Fork Road area (Forest Service road 56). The proposed action would not affect hunting activities.
The areas proposed for closure have concentrated recreation use with multiple roads, campgrounds, trailheads and picnic areas nearby. “The geography doesn’t provide for natural target shooting backstops, so people often use trees and vegetation as backstops, not realizing there may be a trailhead or other recreation feature within range,” said Jim Franzel, Snoqualmie District Ranger. He said that unsafe target shooting in those areas has increased, along with associated environmental damage and shooting-related trash. He imposed an emergency one-year closure on the I-90 corridor last year. The proposal makes that temporary closure permanent and also permanently closes areas around the Middle Fork Road where recreation use and terrain cause similar threats to public safety.
The closure in the South Fork encompasses a narrow swath of valley bottom that follows the I-90 highway from exit 38 to the top of Snoqualmie Pass. The closure area in the Middle Fork Snoqualmie area includes the narrow swath of valley bottom starting on the forest boundary at mile post 6.5 on the Middle Fork Road and ending at the Dingford Creek Trailhead.
The scoping letter and maps can be viewed at http://www.fs.fed.us/R6/mbs/projects/nepa-projects.shtml. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to 902 S.E. North Bend Way, Bldg. 1, North Bend, Wash., 98045.