Thursday, May 30, 2019

Rogue Target Practice in Rogue Valley Oregon

In recent years, target practice has increased dramatically on public lands throughout the Northwest.  Each year more and more people are turning to public land to do their shooting.  Shooting ranges, gun clubs, agency management and law enforcement have not kept pace with the rapid growth of this kind of recreation.  Newcomers often do not have a clue about public land shooting rules and, apparently, some don't know how to shoot safely.  Conflicts are growing and the effects of rogue shooting has become a problem with neighbors, forest visitors and managing agencies.

Rogue behavior is not just a target shooter thing, as it happens in all kinds of recreation, however, using a firearm on public lands is, perhaps, the most serious kind of recreation there is.  And it should be treated as such by all who wish to partake in target practice.


Solutions are not easy to find.  The most common suggestion seems to be 'close it', period.  When that happens, conflicts of a different kind come to light.  Bickering, arguing and dissension sets in and no one gets anywhere in resolving the issues.  There is no ultimate one solution to resolve the situation.  It takes a multitude of consistent efforts to cause a change.

Such is the problem we face in the Anderson Butte recreation area, just outside Medford Oregon.  The Butte is surrounded by rural residence who value its pristine beauty and the many recreation opportunities it has to offer.  Their concerns are well founded and help is needed to resolve these issues.

The 'low-down' on the 'high-ground' in the Anderson Butte...
  • Longstanding conflicts with visitors, neighbors and agency caused by irresponsible target shooters shooting illegally.  It only takes one person to cause big safety concerns and put others at risk, but when several do it, it's a huge problem.
  • Target shooting happens in places where no responsible shooter would ever dream of shooting.  Places that have no backstop.  Bullets effortlessly leave the area and sail 1 to 4 miles across the valley.  The shooter has no idea where they landed, but, nearby residents and trail users do!
  • High volume of illegal dumping, (even a low volume is illegal).  Some shooters think it's fun to take dumped trash and use it for targets.  Some think it's perfectly fine to bring trash from home and use it for targets.  Little do they realize, trash is not legal targets and they just signed all our names to it!
  • Trash is being left behind after shooting.  Even if they are using legal targets, people still leave it behind.  I've heard some say; "It has no value... It's no good anymore... and... I'll leave it for the next guy".  Wrong and illegal!  If it didn't grow naturally in the forest, get it out!
  • Recreation information signs are being destroyed, shortly after installation, with bullet holes from someone who thinks they're fun to shoot.
  • Targets are placed on trees causing damage to natural resources.  In some cases, trees are shot down on purpose just to see if they could really do it.  Highly illegal and destructive.
  • The party crowd on a weekend night seem to like some night shooting and leave a big mess in the woods.  They don't realize, nor seem to care, it is illegal to shoot firearms after the sun goes down.  Some are mixing alcohol with firearms and shooting into the darkness just to see the flash.  Then, jump in the car and leave the trash behind.
All of the above concerns are ruining the reputation of responsible shooters, sportsman and hunters.  It is also the cause of many places being closed to shooting.  More closures and more restrictions are bound to happen if we do nothing to help correct the wrong that is being done.  We must all be aware of these concerns and actively work together in collaborative efforts to correct them.  It's a team effort.  A community effort.  But it needs to happen if you wish to see target practice available for the current and future generations.

This is why we are meeting on Saturday, June 15th on the Anderson Butte for a cleanup of several recreation areas.  We are making it known that bad behavior is not condoned, nor tolerated, and is not a part of our ethical recreation DNA.  We will be working together, side by side, with other groups, clubs, neighbors and concerned citizens to send our message, seek solutions and start a movement of promoting responsible and respectful recreation.

So come join us as we have a little chat about this, do some spring cleaning, share a BBQ lunch, win some neat prizes and make new friends.


http://trashnoland.org/6-15-19_anderson_butte_recreation_appreciation_day.html

http://trashnoland.org/6-15-19_anderson_butte_recreation_appreciation_day.html

Hope to see you there,

Bill Cogley
CEO/President Trash No Land

Sunday, February 10, 2019

THE VALUE OF FREE TARGET SHOOTING.


What is the value of ‘FREE’? 

You know, free as in receiving something of value at no cost to you?  It depends on whether you see it as a value or not!  If not, you may have no respect for it.


Shooting on public land is FREE.
However, some people put little-to-no value on it and, therefore, have little-to-no respect for it. Those are the ones who are ruining Recreational Shooting for the rest of us.  They don't VALUE it and they have no RESPECT for it being free.


Shooting on public land is NOT FREE. 
It does have a cost.  It costs the tools to do the recreation, the ammunition to test your skill, the cost of the targets that don't lie yet give excitement and pleasure to each hit, the fuel and vehicle wear-and-tear to get there, the taxes you pay out of your paycheck and the disposal cost of your spent casings and trash when all is said and done.


To many people, the cost of all that does not translate into the VALUE of free shooting and does not generate a feeling of RESPECT for the privilege.  On the flip side, many other people DO value and respect the privilege and it's embedded in their souls as part of their everyday life.


So how do we create a perceived VALUE that would instill RESPECT?


I don't have the answer, but I think about it all the time.  It is so overwhelming, at times, that I often think I should just leave it and let it run it's coarse into closure and restrictions.  But then, I also think of my kids, and their kids, and where will it be years from now if I give up.  Shutting down shooting on public lands would have devastating effects on the shooting sports, hunting, access to the great outdoors, would hurt private enterprise, inflict further restrictions on gun owners and weakens our ability to become proficient in the use of a gun.  All of that is the VALUE I see in being able to shoot, FREE, on public land.  And I RESPECT that privilege.  So, I can't stop trying to come up with solutions.


The free dumpster in the woods idea...  Again, free = no value, no respect.  "Why take it to the dumpster?  There are 'do-gooders' who will do that.  And look, let's bring out that pile of trash at the house.  It's free to dump here!"


“It's that black AR15 assault weapon with the high capacity magazines that looks like a war machine and puts too many holes in the microwaves, computers and milk jugs!”  I disagree.  It's the user.  Just like all the other crimes committed with a gun, the user did it, not the gun.  I do agree with the fact that many more people are getting carried away with the fun of blasting a thousand rounds as fast as they can at anything that's out there (even the trees).  Lose of control can easily happen and the lose of common sense often happens.  "But hey, I saw it on YouTube and that looks like fun!"  No, it's not the type of gun, or the magazines, or the color, or the 'look', or the caliber, or whether it's full or semiautomatic...  it's the CHOICES THE USER MAKES when they shoot.


So how do we create a perceived VALUE that would instill RESPECT?


Should we propose a bill that requires a permit to target shoot?  It would be a way to generate funds for future shooting improvements and maintenance, and it might help reflect some VALUE in shooting.


Write a bill that would require a deposit on shotgun hulls?  I’m sure we would not see so many hulls on the ground in the woods.  Just like cashing in that brass for cash, hulls would quickly vanish from the ground floor!


A 'Three Strikes You're Out' bill that would take away your privilege to shoot?  We would need more law enforcement to issue those 3 citations.


How about a grant from a foundation that would pay the wages for more law enforcement for at least 1 year?  The revenue generated from the fines they dish out would go toward their next year’s salary.


A sting operation?  I would still like to do that, but it can get rather risky and close to the vigilantly side of things.

OR, should we sit back and let it soon disappear?  Not an option in my book!


So how do we create a perceived VALUE that would instill RESPECT?


Thinking, thinking... Always thinking!  (It drives me nuts!)

Bill

Thursday, January 17, 2019

POSITIVE NEWS FOR SHOOTING ON WA PUBLIC LANDS!


The headquarters office of Washington State Dept of Natural Resources, Commissioner Hilary Franz's staff, invited me to a meeting in Olympia to discuss a potential partnership with DNR and the Trash No Land organization.  We met yesterday, the 15th.


The focus was on how we could team up on spreading the message of Trash No Land and ultimately cause a positive effect on public lands target shooting state wide. We talked a lot about the members on Trash No Land, the Northwest Firearms .com forum and the WaGuns .org forum and their consistent dedication to the cause.

Trash No Land member Gary J. and I sat down with 5 top officials and had a great casual chat about who we are, what we are focused on, who they are and what their focus is. We are all on the same page! They extend their appreciation to all of you who are behind the cause for responsible shooting and are excited to work with you in each of the forests throughout Washington State! A great group of folks and Gary and I came away with a good feeling of their sincerity and a much better understanding of the challenges they face.


They are very much in favor of improving dispersed shooting sites on public lands (big discussion on that topic). Very much in favor of keeping sites open to recreational shooting (although, there are some places they have had to close because of public safety, nuisance complaints and trash accumulation. All valid reasons and good reminders for us to be diligent on taking care of our shooting places). Very much in favor of working more closely with shooters in the woods and very much in favor of causing a positive difference that results in quality recreation for all who visit our state lands.

Things will start slowly, as we have a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to cover. We will need some help in each of the state forests throughout Washington, so be thinking of adopting a forest and some shooting sites to help out when you can.

 
I'll keep you updated as we progress. Ultimately, this will be a good thing for preserving our heritage of shooting on public lands. It means a lot to our current and future generations, as well as, the second amendment values we hold tight to.

So chip in and help Trash No Land and WA DNR! Stewardship Keeps It Open!

Thanks All,
Bill Cogley
Pres Trash No Land

Friday, November 23, 2018

Not Your Typical Shooting Range! The Story of Wolf Creek Lanes.




It’s not what you may think of when you hear the word, ‘Range’. It is also not a range ‘Facility’. It is simply and commonly referred to as ‘Dispersed Recreational Shooting places on Public Lands’, (places where the general public may target shoot recreationally, seven days/week, during daytime hours and without fees or supervision). The difference is, these lanes are ‘Improved’ and they’re solving problems.

 
The lanes are located in the Tillamook State Forest, near Timber, Oregon, where, in 2016, the Oregon Department of Forestry had improved 4 dispersed shooting lanes along the North Fork Wolf Creek Road.
Improvements were designed to address several issues concerning public recreational shooting, primarily focusing on fire prevention. In reality, they have become ‘solutions’ to several other concerns as well.
Trash No Land has been working with the ODF by volunteering to numerous meetings, site visits, design suggestions and recommendations from a shooters perspective.
Extensive thought, planning and preparation went into these improvements.
 
Current Situation (ODF 2015)
Target shooting has been a long standing activity on the Tillamook State Forest that has been steadily growing in-terms of use levels and the number of target shooting locations. It is taking place across the forest and in areas and in ways that create:
  • Unsafe situations for visitors to the Tillamook State Forest and for ODF employees and contractors working on the forest.
  • Conflict with other visitors to the forest.
  • Environmental impacts.
  • Sanitation,
  • Increased fire potential and increased fire starts,
  • Additional costs to the agency.
Policies and management strategies have not kept pace with the
intensity, scope and scale of the target shooting activity. 

Conceptual End in Mind (for 2016 and beyond)
Recreational target shooting has a long history on the Tillamook State Forest and is a supported use that integrates well with the other activities on the forest and has:
  • Low safety, sanitation, and environmental issues,
  • Low fire hazard risks and costs,
  • Partners and partnerships that support the activity,
  • Safe and sustainable opportunities for recreational target shooting on the TSF.  

Strategy
This project proposes to develop a strategy, in collaboration with our partners and the target shooting community that will:
  • Resolve the safety, sanitation, and environmental issues 
  • Reduce the fire potential associated with target shooting
  • Develop public ownership and involvement in the development and implementation of the strategy.
  • Maintain safe and sustainable opportunities for recreational target shooting.

Benefits of Improvements
ODF completed the first improvements in July of 2016. Since then, they have evolved into solutions that address many of the concerns with dispersed shooting on public lands.
  • Fire Prevention... Objective: drastically reduce fire hazards and risks due to target shooting in the area. This area sustained two fires in 2015. Zero fires since improvements, Summer 2016. 
  • Low Trash Accumulation... Designed for easy target setup and removal. If trash is left behind, it's within the shooting lane and not on the forest floor.
  • Public Safety... Shooting in a safe direction, away from buildings, trails, bodies of water and other recreational activities. Goal is that bullet rounds are contained within the range area.
  • Personal Safety... Established firing line enhances user safety and encourages proper use.
  • Protection of Natural Resources... Firing into earthen berm backstops, no trees, shrubs, stumps or downed logs.
  • Enhanced Recreation for All... Located in an area with little to no conflict with other recreational activities. Less trash seen by forest visitors. Popular with shooting community. Other dispersed areas seeing less use and less trash. Other recreation groups favor a place for shooting.
  • Community Support... Building public ownership and volunteer involvement in development, implementation and maintenance of the strategy.
  • Comradery... Users unify with a shared sense of pride, appreciation and respect for these lanes.
  • Open and Free for Public Use... 7 days/week, half hour before sunrise to half hour after sunset!
  • Built for Sustainability... Less routine maintenance. Re-built to last.
They have also become a shooters preferred place to shoot on public land.

Along with the popularity of these lanes, we are seeing a greater sense of community support, as evidenced by a display of ownership, ethics, stewardship, sharing and respect for the shooting sports. The lanes are being used as intended and are well cared for by the community. Trash is at a minimum and users are removing more than their own spent casings and used targets. Education, awareness and communication, amongst its users, are making a difference.

 

By Fall of 2018, these lanes were in need upgrades. The original impact berms, simply mounded up piles of clay dirt, have deteriorated greatly and the lane surfaces needed grading and new gravel. The long-range hillside impact zones were eroding and needed corrective measures.



 
Completed Upgrades to Lanes 2 & 3
Renovation work was completed at lanes 2 and 3, November 10, 2018. Project was funded by a generous grant from the NRA Foundation. The Oregon Department of Forestry contributed significantly with needed gravel materials, a professional consultation and engineering work. Trash No Land obtained the grant, assisted with plan design and project management.









Improvement History (Example Lane 3)







Upgrades continue for Lanes 1 & 4
The next step is to complete the needed upgrades to lanes 1 & 4. These improvements will be as designed, and recently completed, at lanes 2 & 3. The estimate to complete renovation work on lanes 1 & 4 is $28,500.

Funding for these needed improvements is expected to be accomplished with donations from the general public. The project is scheduled for completion by summer of 2019.

Renovation work includes;
  • Rebuild the short lane berm at lane 1 and 4.
  • Install a new berm at lane 4 in front of the hillside backstop.
  • Grade and gravel the lane surfaces at both lanes.
  • Widen the firing line jersey barriers at lane 4 to accommodate wider pistol berms and better share-ability.
  • All berms are designed for maximum stopping power and bullet retention. Grade and gravel to minimize skipping and mud conditions.

 We are rebuilding these lanes for long term sustainability!

A fundraiser has been started on the Trash No Land website:


Please support responsible recreational shooting on public lands with a donation!

Thank you!

Contact Bill Cogley
President Trash No Land
360/ 713-8304
bill@trashnoland.org