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Zinke calls on Forest Service to reopen national forest to target shooting

September 19, 2016
Press Release

Zinke calls on Forest Service to reopen national forest to target shooting

(CONGRESS) September 19, 2016 – Today, Congressman Ryan Zinke, Montana’s lone member of the  House of Representatives, called on U.S. Forest Service Chief, Thomas Tidwell, to lift the target shooting ban in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

In April of 2016, a ban on recreational target shooting was issued for the Hyalite Canyon drainage area of the Custer Gallatin National Forest south of Bozeman. It was originally announced that this ban was not intended to be long term, but it now faces the prospect of being made permanent. In his letter, Congressman Zinke encouraged Chief Tidwell to reconsider the decision to make the shooting ban permanent.

 “I can still remember the first time dad took me out hunting. I think every kid should have that experience, which is why I oppose shutting down the forest to target shooting. Hunting and recreational shooting are two very important outdoor activities shared and enjoyed by residents and tourists alike,” said Rep. Ryan Zinke. “As a fifth-generation Montana sportsman, I have frequently enjoyed target shooting across many of the national forests within our state.  This decision is being made behind closed doors and without input from the local communities and sportsmen organizations.  This is a slippery slope, and I worry it closing public land down for target shooters could lead to no hunting and fishing. For many Montanans, national forests and other public lands are the only places where they are able to get out and pass down the tradition of hunting and shooting. Closing our forests and restricting access goes against who we are as sportsmen, conservationists, and as Montanans.”

Congressman Zinke believes in traditional multiple use of our national forests and asked that the Forest Service bring the local community to the table to determine the best approach to management of these important public lands.