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Montana: Management Plan Closes Public Land to Target Shooting

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a plan to guide management of more than 434,000 acres of public land for the next 20 years.  The planning area is outside Billings in Big Horn, Carbon, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Wheatland and Yellowstone counties.  The BLM Billings office also oversees management of the 51-acre Pompey’s Pillar National Monument, as well as 4,298 acres of public land in Big Horn County, Wyoming — a portion of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range.  To view this plan please click here.

The draft plan contains four management alternatives.  Alternative D is BLM’s preferred management approach and it would close the most acres to target shooting.  Aces proposed for closure to shooters range from 11,348 to 31,586 acres. The plan would also restrict motorized off-road big game retrieval to those hunters with disabilities.  An access permit would be issued on a case-by-case basis.

In addition the plan proposes to close 377 miles of roads to public use.  The Billings office decided to incorporate details for 11 Travel Management Areas into its plan because of the amount of motorized recreation use the region sees.  In the area, 66 miles of road would be closed to all vehicles and another 313 miles would only be open for administrative use.  That leaves 530 miles of open routes, 69 miles open only to vehicles with a 50-inch or less wheelbase, 15 miles with seasonal closures and 1,357 acres in the South Hills open only to motorcycle use.

The NRA is in the process of reviewing this plan and encourages all shooters and hunters who recreate on the lands covered by this plan to carefully review the proposed closures to shooting arrayed in the charts in Chapter 2 pages 2-125 and 2-126, as well as on pages 2-141 through 2-195, to determine how the proposed closures in each of the four alternatives will affect you.  You may also want to look at the roads proposed for closure to determine if closure will affect your ability to access the areas in which you hunt or target shoot.

Below is a schedule of the public meetings the BLM is hosting.   The NRA strongly encourages its members who recreate on these lands to attend one of the public meetings and to summit comments on the plan.

Written comments may be submitted to: Billings_PompeysPillar_RMP@blm.gov or may be mailed directly or delivered to: Draft Billings and Pompey’s Pillar National Monument RMP/EIS Billings Field Office, Bureau of Land Management RMP Team Lead, Carolyn Sherve-Bybee, 5001 Southgate Drive Billings, Montana 59101.  The comment period extends to June 28th.


Public Meeting Schedule (Open House Format)

April 30, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Bridger Senior Center/Golden Age Society
118 C Street
Bridger, MT 59104

May 1, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Carnegie Public Library Community Room
314 McLeod Street
Big Timber, Montana 59011

May 2, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Senior Center
207 S. Villard Ave
Red Lodge, Montana 59068

May 6, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Emergency Services Building – Ambulance Barn
704 1st Street East
Roundup, Montana 59072

May 7, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Visitor Center
20 Highway 14A East
Lovell, Wyoming 82431

May 8, 2013, 7:00-9:00 pm
Hampton Inn (Lewis Room)
5110 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101

For more information, call the Billings Field Office at (406) 896-5234.



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