SALT LAKE CITY — The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday announced a long-term target-shooting closure on more than 2,000 acres of public land on the west side of Utah Lake in Utah County.
That’s more than twice the size of a temporary ban first implemented in 2012.
KSL TV has done a number of target-shooting stories in the area south of Saratoga Springs along Highway 68 over the years. They highlighted the damage done by shooters to Native American petroglyphs, fires started by the bullets, and dangerous close calls from shooting toward homes and the highway.
The BLM first banned target shooting on 900 acres along the highway six years ago. This expanded ban is now long-term to improve public safety and protect the petroglyphs after attempts at public outreach and education failed to make a difference.
The target-shooting ban still allows legal hunting and access through the Lake Mountains.
The closure impacts BLM and Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands. In addition, the BLM said it transferred 160 acres to Utah County two years ago for a public shooting range, off Soldier Pass Road, which is nearing completion and already open.
This decision was the result of a long conversation among many people with an interest in this land. The BLM manages more than 3 million acres of land out of this field office, and the vast majority of that remains open for target shooting.
Public comment on the rule is open for the next 60 days. Written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Interim Final Supplementary Rule” in the subject line. Public comment will be closed Nov. 5.
The vast majority of this public land remains open to the public for a variety of activities. Officials with the BLM they want people to get out and enjoy it, but pay attention to the posted rules.