"Unless Arizona officials change their minds, a visit to Walnut Canyon National Monument soon could be against the backdrop of rapid-fire gunfire courtesy of a shooting range the state intends to build near the monument.
"They claim that they’ll be able to muffle some of the sounds, but hundreds of rounds of staccato muffled gunfire in Walnut Canyon probably is not appropriate," says David Nimkin, who oversees the National Parks Conservation Association's Southwest regional office.
The shooting range, complete with archery course, clay pigeon area, trap and skeet fields, 30-spot RV park, hunter education trail, rifle range, and classroom space, has been long in coming. For 15-20 years the Arizona Game and Fish Department has been looking for a location in the northern area of the state, preferably one within 30 minutes of downtown Flagstaff.
About 18 months ago the commission found the 160-acre Foster Ranch, a private tract surrounded by national forest land, and purchased it for the range. (To see a locator map of the proposed range and its proximity to the national monument, click here to open a pdf.) A final proposed masterplan for the facility is expected to be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission next month. A draft of the plan is attached below.
Since that site was identified for the shooting range, it has drawn opposition for its location near the national monument from the National Park Service, the Hopi Tribe, Friends of Walnut Canyon, and the NPCA. Additionally, the Flagstaff City Council recently voted against the location."
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Kurt Rapanshek: Arizona Officials Planning Shooting Range Near Walnut Canyon National Monument
(National Parks Traveler 2/17)
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