ARIZONA NEWS

Officials approve amendment for target shooting in Sonoran Desert National Monument

Jun 8, 2024, 7:15 AM

sonoran-desert-shooting...

Officials approved an amendment for dispersed recreational target shooting in the Sonoran Desert National Monument Resource Management Plan. (Pexels photos)

(Pexels photos)

PHOENIX — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved an amendment for dispersed recreational target shooting in the Sonoran Desert National Monument Resource Management Plan.

The amendment makes recreational target shooting available on 5,295 acres of the monument and unavailable on the other 480,496 acres.

Officials say the amendment seeks to protect human health, safety and important resources by adjusting where target shooting is available in the monument.

“The BLM worked to find a safe balance between various recreational uses of public lands while protecting objects of historic or scientific interest in the national monument,” said Phoenix District Manager Leon Thomas in a news release. “We continue to explore ways to enhance opportunities for recreational shooting on other public lands in Arizona, such as our new shooting sports sites in the metro Phoenix area.”

The amendment only applies to dispersed recreational target shooting on BLM lands within the monument. It does not affect hunting or recreational shooting on other BLM-managed lands in Arizona.

The BLM manages 12.1 million acres of  public lands in Arizona, and over 93.8% of the land is open to dispersed recreational target shooting.

The history of target shooting in the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert National Monument was established by presidential proclamation in 2001. The BLM created a resource management plan for the monument in 2012. A court order from 2015 required the BLM to reanalyze the impacts of target shooting in the monument.

In 2018, the BLM amended the resource management plan to allow dispersed recreational shooting in certain areas of the monument. That decision was challenged again in 2019, resulting in the current planning efforts after the 2022 court settlement.

“In accordance with the settlement, the BLM considered areas of the monument suitable for recreational target shooting based on the presence of monument objects, the resiliency of those objects to recreational target shooting, and topographic features,” the news release said.

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Officials approve amendment for target shooting in Sonoran Desert National Monument