Regarding the Payson Roundup's article concerning the Forest Service's proposed closure of Tonto National Forest to shooting:
There is little doubt that some shooters as well as some cretins riding four-wheelers leave trash in the forest, and that some shooters and some four-wheelers undoubtedly cause unsafe conditions.
Some criminals wielding guns vandalize signs and some four-wheelers and off-roaders scar the forest by blazing new trails. Other criminals cause untold destruction and unsafe conditions by causing forest fires.
Are we to believe that none of the over 20,000 gun laws on the books gives Forest Service law enforcement officials the authority to prosecute these criminals?
A short time after moving to Payson in 1994, I became aware of a trashed-out area near Star Valley that had clearly been utilized by shooters. While it was unclear whether the shooters themselves had actually transported the trash to the area, or had simply used the trash for target practice, I nevertheless went to the Forest Service office in Payson, and asked the Forest Service if they would pay the dump fees if I took my own truck and utility trailer into the area and on my own time and at my own expense cleaned up the trash.
The bored, unresponsive Forest Service employee behind the counter informed me that they could not permit my cleanup of the area, but that they would put my name and number on a volunteer list for any area cleanups. When I saw the scrap of paper that they used to take my name and number, I knew that it would be round-filed, and that I would never be called.
That incident was over half a decade ago, and I was right, I've never been contacted.
One time, while out with my father shooting paper targets we had set up against a hillside, a car drove up and saw clearly that we had targets set up and that we were shooting. The driver then deliberately parked his car between us and our paper target. When we politely asked these people if they could park somewhere else, the lady started screaming epithets at us. They then proceeded with their unleashed dog into the forest. We had to move our target hanger, and set up our targets elsewhere. Was this one of the "unsafe conditions" reported to the Forest Service?
The public safety issue regarding shooting is a sham. If public safety were really at issue, the Forest Service would, for example, require motorcycle and four-wheel riders to wear safety equipment, and would prohibit the unsafe practice of allowing a driver plus a rider on a four-wheeler designed for one person.