People shooting guns around trails in St. George
I know this has been talked about before, but it seems everytime I go near bearclaw poppy there are so many people out shooting. Usually they are in a bowl near the trail that I assume is safe, but today they were up on the hills and shooting skeet in the direction of the trail. I called the police but was told they were on county land and it was legal. When I asked what I could do to lodge a complaint, she just gave me the run around and never actually gave an answer. Basically it sounded like someone needed to die before it would even register on her radar. I was with my 5 and 7 year olds and I'm getting increasingly tired of feeling like I'm risking my life because people want to shoot guns in high traffic areas. I've had a number of times all over that trail system from bearclaw to barrel roll where there have been bullets whizzing over my head. Is there anything that can be done about this? Who would I even talk to about it?
I had a bullet ricochet right past me on the Zen trail and the trails in Santa Clara sound like your in a war zone on the weekends.
I have called and got the same response as you. Not sure what to do.
Originally Posted by Rock dude
Yes and no.
Originally Posted by KO21
Shooting is 100% legal on BLM lands unless otherwise posted (such as in a reserve like Red Desert)
We ride Barrel Roll A LOT and have for four-plus years and even on the busiest weekend day I have yet to have "bullets whizzing over my head" or anyone else’s for that matter. A Ricochet “ziiiiing” may sound like its right over your head when in fact it is hundreds of meters away and a large caliber hunting rifle will create quite the “boom”. A shotgun shooting bird shot at clays isn’t going to hurt anyone if the pellets fall to earth on a ballistic trajectory. BLM Lands are designated “open shooting” areas unless otherwise noted. Just so you know, folks were out there using the land for this reason well before Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchie or Joe Breeze were twinkles in their fathers eyes.
Now with this said, should I encounter shooter(s) behaving badly, I go up to the shooters, ask them to make their weapon safe and explain to them that the NUMBER ONE rule is know your downrange. I then explain there are designated and well traveled trails in their downrange and ask them to relocate all the while being very nice and representing MTBers in a positive fashion. 99% of the time it's a positive experience.
I had a guy and his kids at the Upper Gould’s trail head being total asshats. They were shooting glass (illegal on BLM and all other public land). I called the BLM and had a Ranger dispatched and a ticket was issued.
What he said, and to reiterate, you have to really damn close for a shotgun to be dangerous (skeet). Shotgun "shot" would not equate to a "bullet" wizzing over your head.
The situation the other day did not have the bullets going over my head. I didn't hear anything other than the gun, but it is a little nerve wracking seeing them pointed in the direction of the trail. I did yell over to them from a distance that they were shooting into the trail, not trying to be a prick, and they told me to go to hell. I would understand if they thought I was the jerk in that situation, but I really wasn't trying to be. As for the "bullets whizzing over my head" comment. I had a situation where there were guys set up around the water tower on the road up to barrel roll. They were shooting up into the area where the trails are. They were right on the trail that goes up to the parking lot from the ranch at the bottom of the hill. I passed them and told them they were shooting into the trail and there may be people up there. They said OK and kept doing what they were. In the parking lot, I could hear something that sounded about 30 ft over my head flying past me. I didn't initially take it for a bullet because it seemed crazy to me, but my friends who are into guns said they were definitely bullets.
Originally Posted by KThaxton
The argument that people have been shooting out there forever doesn't really mean a lot to me. Times change and unfortunately people have to change with them. I am in no way anti-gun nor do I care that people shoot on BLM land, but it seems like the BLM has put in trails so they need to be careful about how that land is used when they are attempting to attract people to it. So as the way the land is used changes, people need to adapt. I know it sucks for some, but moving further out can't be the worst thing in the world and is better than someone getting hurt. I had houses get built on land I played on as a kid. It sucked, but that's life. I've only been here about 8 years and still feel a lot of the tension between the locals and newcomers, so I'm not surprised there is a some push back to my post. I know that most people are very safe with their guns and I have a number of friends who shoot every week in these areas. I do have a hard time knowing that not everyone is going to be safe and many people overestimate their knowledge/skills in many areas, so they may inadvertantly put people in danger. I'm not prepared to simply trust that the numerous guns going off all around me are being safely used. I would love it if the BLM would simply put up signs or designate areas for shooting. The way things are now, it feels too random to me, particularly when people out shooting may not know where the trails are. Maybe I'm overreacting to this. I know the holidays probably had a lot to do with the higher volume of people shooting. The negative incidents I've had with guns are few and far between over the years, but this could end up very badly for someone.
Originally Posted by KO21
Not trying to be a d#ck, but you should ride elsewhere if this bothers you this much. Its not worth the stress. You yelled at those guys and Im going to guess all they heard was someone yelling at them. Note that I actually ride or walk up to them and have a conversation with them.
"Hey guys what are ya shooting? Do you come here often?....(answers to these will tell me a lot) BTW do you realize. and I bet you don't, that there are well used and populated trailes directly in your downrange? Would you be nice enough to help us all stay safe and preserve our right to shoot here by moving or having a backstop for your targets?"
As far as closing those areas to shooting. Those trails...they are a few years old...that area has been an open shooting area for 100+. The BLM cannot simply place arbitrary signs banning shooting, its against the law for them do do so. You're not going to win battles against horses or guns in Utah, all you/we can do is educate and set good examples.
Sackup or ride somewhere else. Trails and public land are multi-use so learn to share. Try riding during rifle hunting season where it is pretty much a free for all and let me know how you feel.
Originally Posted by KO21
14 S-Works Epic WC
14 Yeti ARC
14 S-Works Crux Disc
15 Echo Carbondale
As far as closing those areas to shooting. Those trails...they are a few years old...that area has been an open shooting area for 100+. The BLM cannot simply place arbitrary signs banning shooting, its against the law for them do do so. You're not going to win battles against horses or guns in Utah, all you/we can do is educate and set good examples.[/QUOTE]
I'm not trying to argue with you, and I don't think it's a dick statement to say ride somewhere else, because that's a reality. I don't remember saying to ban shooting or close trails. I'm not into encroaching on peoples' freedoms. You always have good comments and are a great advocate for the area, but I'm thinking there has to be a better solution that can reduce risk for the 2% of people who aren't safe with their guns. Talking with people is great, but not everyone is as friendly as you are, particularly me. I recognize that yelling over to people isn't going to be perceived well, even though I wasn't angrily yelling. There was a fence between us, and no convenient way to get over to them. I'll reiterate, I'm not saying to ban shooting, but I would like an effort from the BLM to increase awareness of what/who is in the area. I don't think it's unreasonable to have areas close to the trails off limits. Signs may do that, but I don't know. As noted before, I think the argument that people have been shooting for over 100 years is weak. My house is less than 10 years old and I know people were shooting, riding ATV's, and hunting in the area my neighborhood is in, but I don't see that happening now.
have been shooting for over 100 years is weak. My house is less than 10 years old and I know people were shooting, riding ATV's, and hunting in the area my neighborhood is in, but I don't see that happening now.[/QUOTE]
Are you serious? You don't see a clear difference between discharging a firearm in city limits, and on public lands? Which do you think is Illegal? I don't mean to come down on you, as I myself would much prefer not to hear gunfire when riding. However they have just as much right to be there as we do. You and I are going to have to learn to coexist or ride elsewhere. As far as is there anything that you can do there probably is. First you need to educate yourself on the local laws. Where is it legal to shot and where is it not. As people have mentioned is it legal to shoot clay pigeons and glass or is it littering. You need to become an expert in firearms law. Then you will know when someone is doing something illegal and you can take video, write down license plate numbers and generally be a bother. Assuming you don't get shot you might be able to get someone ticketed.
Are you serious? You don't see a clear difference between discharging a firearm in city limits, and on public lands? Which do you think is Illegal? I don't mean to come down on you, as I myself would much prefer not to hear gunfire when riding. However they have just as much right to be there as we do. You and I are going to have to learn to coexist or ride elsewhere. As far as is there anything that you can do there probably is. First you need to educate yourself on the local laws. Where is it legal to shot and where is it not. As people have mentioned is it legal to shoot clay pigeons and glass or is it littering. You need to become an expert in firearms law. Then you will know when someone is doing something illegal and you can take video, write down license plate numbers and generally be a bother. Assuming you don't get shot you might be able to get someone ticketed.[/QUOTE]
Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway
Got a bit fired up, eh? I think you missed the point of the metaphor and most everything I've been saying. I started this thread to ask questions so I could learn about it. I've been co-existing and riding at all times of the year just fine for years and never had much of a problem with it. I was a bit taken aback when I learned it was legal to shoot so close to trails, houses, etc. I'm from Chicago and even though I've been here awhile, it is still really different to me. I generally see what I perceive to be the lack of regulation out here a very good thing. I usually just used the fact that my friends who were out there shooting as evidence that they are rednecks to make fun of them (in fun, don't go getting all bent out of shape). It's still funny to me that I can't go to a dinner with friends without conversation turning to blowing stuff up or what they've shot recently. Since I've only shot a gun once, it's just a different world to me. I guess I got a little more concerned when I see people shooting in the direction of my kids. Again, I'm not advocating to take guns out of anyone's hands, etc. This seems to be an emotional topic and I was pissed when I started it, so that probably came across, but you guys need to think this through. Seems like there is a better solution than just "sacking up" or riding elsewhere. I think there is a place for everyone to use the land equally. I'm sure everyone will tell me I'm wrong, but seems like in a multi-use land situation it's only truly multi-use if one group is not endangering the others. I don't want to see a bunch of regulation on the area, but like I said before, if the BLM is going to put in trails and the city is going to promote the area to tourism, they should probably take measures to reduce potential dangers. Is putting up signs about where the trails are, directions to shoot in, etc. really that far fetched? If so, I guess I'll just shut up.
Nope not fired up. Im always like this.
I did not miss the metaphor, its flawed.
Also as I mentioned I hear exactly what you are saying, did not miss your point actually agree with you to a certain extent,and would prefer not to be riding around guns.
Also as I mentioned I think you are missing what many of the posters are saying. More regulations on public lands is a bad thing and will hurt access for bikes. Multi use may not be a perfect situation but its unavoidable. Its great for areas like the Barrell Roll to have seperate trails for horses hikers and bikes but thats not going to happen on the thousands of miles of forest roads, fire roads, etc statewide. I guess I just don't see what you are suggesting as practical. You want to surround every MTB area with signs that say Caution???????
The main problem in the Santa Clara area is that BLM has fenced off most all of the land that people would shoot in. So now everyone is stuck in one little area.
Years ago I could ride my dirt bike all day in hills behind Santa Clara without seeing another rider.
I don't have a problem with shooting guns on BLM land, I shoot up there at least once a month. The problem is that very small percent of guys that would just shoot holes in the signs. The same ones that take the bottles, TV's and computers out there. Those are the ones that are causing the problems.
By the way the bullet that ricochet past me on the Zen trail, hit a rock 25ft in front of me. The guys were shooting up the wash at the end of the end of the Zen trail. I had to yell to let them know that I was up there. I rode over and informed them that it was illegal for them to be shooting there. That area is now in the city limits of St. George.
Suggestion for you guys......
Get involved by contacting the BLM and educating yourselves to the disharge of firearms rules on BLM lands.
After you do this come on on back here as an educated land user and chime in.
Edit: I'm not trying to be a smartazz but the rules which the BLM must abide by are pretty clear on this issue
Last edited by STT GUY; 01-02-2013 at 07:05 PM.
To be fair, once there are mountain bike trails, it is only a matter of time before the rednecks will be gone. Bikes=suburbia nearby. Sooner or later the rednecks get priced out and move further away.
In the meantime you can always go say hello (preferably not chamois'd up) and make a new friend. After conversing a bit and learning everyone's name, you can ask that they not shoot toward the trails you'll be riding. Works pretty well most of the time.
Guidelines for Target Shooting on Public Land
Safety First: Always maintain a safe line of fire. Shoot towards a high, dirt backstop. Never shoot towards other people, vehicles, structures, roads, trails, or livestock. Respect private property and posted signs.
Fire: Target shooting can cause fires under certain conditions. Check current fire conditions with BLM. Don’t shoot near rocks or dry vegetation. Avoid shooting on hot, windy days. Do not shoot at metal objects. Be prepared; keep a shovel, fire extinguisher and extra water on hand. Persons responsible for starting a fire may be held liable for damages and suppression costs.
Ammunition: Use or possession of tracers, steel-core or steel-jacketed ammunition, explosives, and pyrotechnics is NOT permitted on public lands in Box Elder, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Utah counties to prevent fires and maintain public safety.
Targets: Use paper, cardboard, or clay targets only. Use and/or possession of any kind of exploding targets or explosive devices is prohibited on public lands. Don’t shoot at glass, metals, plastics, home appliances, electronic components, or furniture.
Stop Trigger Trash: Shoot over a tarp for easy cleanup of spent cartridges and shells. Remove all targets, trash, and debris after shooting. Dumping or littering on public land is never permissible.
Vehicles: Keep vehicles on existing roads and trails. Don’t drive or park on vegetation; you could cause damage or a wildfire.
Permits: Commercial, competitive, or organized group activities require a BLM permit. Check with our office for details.
To get more information, obtain a permit, or report violations, contact the BLM Salt Lake Field Office (801-977-4300). Cash rewards up to $250 are available for information leading to the arrest or conviction of any person(s) violating public land regulations.
Thank You for Protecting Public Resources!
OK, now I'm a "educated land user".
Do you spend much time down here in SW Utah Walt? They shoot the no shooting signs!!
Originally Posted by Walt
Grew up in northern NM, so I was one of the kids doing the sign-shooting for a while. Kids+guns, fun times. Man, sometimes I can't believe I've lived this long with all the stupid crap we did.
It's true that yuppies/mountain bikers eventually drive the shooters away, though. If you visited, say, Fruita 20 years ago... man, 18 road (and the entire Bookcliffs) = disaster zone. Now, you'd get arrested in about 30 seconds if you were up on the BLM land there shooting near the bike trails.
Originally Posted by STT GUY
Note the bolded text in your quote. This is how you get shooters off public lands. If folks are shooting glass report them...the BLM will respond promptly. Same with shotgunners leaving a litter of shell casings. Both are littering and both will result in ticketing.
Originally Posted by Rock dude
Regarding the Educated User claim....Well..no not really.You read the rules about shooting, you don't know or understand how those rules are created and how enforcement works. Basically, you still don't know the rules the BLM must follow when deciding to allow or disallow shooting. So I'll share what I have learned and this will educate you and others here who ask...."why cant the BLM just put up "No Shooting" signs?
Some of the fence lines and grids you refer to in the BCP/Stucki spgs area and Santa Clara are not BLM lands...some are State Trust, some is private, some is St George City and some is county. It is difficult to figure out even with a BLM map at times and those boundries have changed quite a bit over teh last ten years and they will change again. Think things like the Santa Clara Preserve., which removed a huge number of acres from "open" use lands. FWIW...there are many, many mles of trails (and more being built) within this reserve where we may ride without shooters being around. (The land to the northeast is open to shooting so if you chose to ride up from the bottom you're making a choice to ride through an "open to shooting" area.)
Here is a very important item the BLM must abide by..If the BLM removes and area from use for public shooting it is mandated to replace said area with another of equal suitability.
I urge you and everyone else to become involved in the land use process here in Washington County and contibute to the process (versus just coming here and *****ing). While we bicth about shooters....shooters are *****ing about the moutain bike trails (many illegal) being built through the areas which they have used for decades.
We're the new kids on the block. Horsemen, Motos, ATV, 4X4s, etc were around WAAAAAAY before us and we need to reach out to these other users and work with them. I will remind everyone that there are those who want to see lands open to only hikers and these people are well orgnized, well educated, well funded and most importantly they are fully engaged in the process..
You can join DIXIE MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS ASSOCIATION and help us fight for our cause. We are an IMBA chapter and we are focused 100% on advocacy aka getting more and better trails and keeping existing ones in good repair and open!
In closing, when contacting the BLM, please be super cool to them. We (the MTB community) have a very positive relationship with the BLM currently and want to keep it that way.
Last edited by STT GUY; 01-03-2013 at 10:13 AM.
The area in which the shooting is usually happening is in Santa Clara City limit. Check this map.
The water tower and everything below and to the west is within the city limit. The city is really lazy about stopping people from shooting there because it has been used that way forever.
You need to be very specific on the phone as to the shooters location and maybe mention the city's liability for not stopping it.
Cant get the link to work, might be on my end though. That area is very tricky...east of the tank is leagal as is South and South east and so is some of the land to the north and east and then there is private land as well.
Originally Posted by can't get right
It is not the city's liability for not stopping it. You would have to prove they were grossly negligent and there was some sort of malice and that's going to be extremely difficult, especially since if you continue you are either disragarding your safety or exagerating the level of threat.
You: Hello I would like to report illegal shooting (insert location)
Them: Are you in immediate danger? (because you called 911)
You: Errrrr no but these dudes are shooting guns near our trails and it seems dangerous. (which it very well may be)
Them: Sir, you need to leave the area of you feel you are in danger.
Your safety is your responsibility and when confronted with a situation you feel unsafe enough to report and ask LEO to come, why in the world would you continue to pass through or loiter in the area? If you feel unsafe, then the solution is to GTF out of there. This is pretty simple really.
STT- Before the sign got shot to hell about 5-6 years ago, there was posted a Santa Clara City "no discharging of firearms within city limits" sign at the bottom of the hill near the corrals.
I have not looked it up but almost every city has an unlawful to discharge firearms code or ordinance. The most popular spot for the shooters is definitely within the city limit. The city is aware that people are shooting there and doing nothing to stop it. Therein lies the problem.
I am an outsider looking in on your thread, but I have dealt with this subject before so I will offer some thoughts.
To the OP. The first thing you need to do is understand roughly who is doing the shooting in the area. Odds are they are local residents for the most part. Keep in mind that shooters are part of the local economy too. They buy firearms and supplies. You may also not be surprised to learn that many of the local politicians are shooters too. Be real careful how you approach this, you may find yourself creating a opposing group that wants to close the trails for your safety.
Find out if there are identified areas to shoot. Is there a local gun club? Do they have a range?
People want to restrict or ban other users without any regard for those users recreation interests. The only good answer in these cases is to try to address the desires of the other user groups in a way that accomplishes your desired results too.
You need to approach this and present yourself as someone who wants to make a better situation for everyone. You have identified part of the answer in your own posts that the local government agencies want to promote the area for tourism.
When I lived in Nevada several years ago we had a similar situation, although it didn't involve bike trails. To cut to the end, the solution we came up with was to build a nice public range providing a place to shoot. This brought the city, the county, the BLM and the shooting communities together for a common objective. The government agencies liked it because it put the shooters in a area that had backstops and identified safe directions of fire.
We made permanent targets from heavy scrap metal, "gongs" that stayed at the range. Almost completely stopped the garbage hauling. The garbage hauling that did happen was on the range and not scattered all over the country. The private/government partnership got the thing built, and the gun club agreed to essentially run it. The county carried the lease from the BLM and it had the basic county insurance coverage. It remained open to the public, but the gun club got to use it to run matches and other events in exchange for keeping an eye on things and doing basic maintenance.
Another big selling point was that the lead from the spent bullets was contained to the backstops and not scattered all over the open land. The BLM in particular liked that line of thinking.
After it was up and running, the county directed shooters to the range and discouraged shooting in the areas where they didn't want people free shooting. It all worked out very well and solved the majority of the problems without anyone getting banned or butt hurt. As I recall, a few areas did get posted as closed to shooting, but since there was a place for people to go it didn't create a uproar that I remember.
Lead the horse to the water and it will follow you. Try to push it and you will not get anywhere.
BTW, being from Chicago I would think you would be quite used to dodging gunfire
I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things
A bullet does not "whiz" right over your head. I'm guessing the rounds the OP heard were ricochets, from several hundred meters away.
That said, yes, BLM lands in many states are open to shooting, although in many cases there are certain seasons in which you can use said weapons, on certain targets.
Why is biking a more valid form of recreation for an area than shooting?