STATE LANDS — Shooters are creating a safety hazard and trashing a section of state land near Newman Lake, Department of Natural Resources officials say.
Complaints from area landowners have prompted more enforcement and citations for littering, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, said Loren Torgerson of the agency’s northeastern Washington staff.
The property– section 36 off Koth Road just northeast of Newman Lake – has been promoted as a good place to shoot in blogs and brochures left at gun shops, including Cabela’s, Torgerson said.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” he said. Shooters have been using garbage as targets and leaving the trash as well as using semi-automatic weapons to blast and “saw down” cedar trees, he said.
Washington Fish and Wildlife police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Department have been assisting the DNR’s one enforcement officer covering seven counties, he said.
“Citations have been written and we’re starting to see a reduction in the number of bad actors up there,” he said.
Improving barriers to driving off the main road is helping with the problem, he said.
DNR has been working with the county’s shooting area advisory committee to consider a petition that would close the area to shooting, he said.
“We certainly want holistic view of the issue. We know that closing one area to shooting simply moves the problem somewhere else,” he said.
“Ultimately the community needs to look at the options.”