Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A PERSON Emerges...

...ah, my little cherubs and seraphim who flutter around Forest Service offices tell me that the Front Range shooting area closures are indeed the work of one person. Her name is Christine Walsh, and she is the Boulder District Ranger. It seems that Ms. Walsh, who just doesn't like guns, came up with a plan to shut down shooting on USFS land in the Front Range all by herself, and it wasn't met with wholesale approval...there are apparently a few Rangers who actually think obeying the law is more imporant that pursuing one person's political agenda.

Now what's interesting about Ms. Walsh is that she has a history of acting imperiously. Both equestrian and off-road groups have asked her for explanations of her actions, without much luck. Here's what she thinks (from the Boulder Weekly) about shooters:

"We have one law enforcement officer who covers the entire Boulder Ranger District for all uses. So he needs to distribute his time to areas that need to be monitored and patrolled," she says. "We have additional employees who can write tickets, but they are encouraged not to approach people who are shooting unless they are with another employee [emphasis mine]. Nobody’s supposed to do that alone, because they don’t have guns."
Hmmmm...I've talked to real Rangers numerous times while I was shooting! They didn't seem to have any problems "approaching," even talking to shooters! Maybe that's why Ms. Walsh chose to act in the dark, as opposed to following Federal laws. It also explains why MS. Walsh has refused volunteer support and help, even though the USFS routinely accepts volunteer help from mountain biking, hiking and equestrial groups.

The problem is that Ms. Walsh's personal agenda is now USFS policy...until someone in Washington D.C. slaps her down hard.

More as this story continues to develop!


Publicola said...

Mr. Sweeney,
it'd need a few lottery wins as long as federal gun control laws are on the books & state & local prior restraint based gun control laws are enforced. BTW, you're not the same Patrick Sweeney who authored all those books on gunsmithing & thus started my descension into The WECSOG are ya?

anyword on why she's done this Both the reason she gives yo justify it &/or the reason behind the presumably pretentious reasoning?

Anonymous said...

District Rangers can be replaced at will by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

She can keep her GSA rating ... I'm sure a post in Antartica can be found for her.

The "R" upper heirachy are the folks you need to work on to make this happen.

Publicola said...

Mr. Sweeney,
Sir, it is truly an honor. I much appreciate your work as it has helped my riflery out a great deal. The money you helped me save translated into more cash for ammo, hence more practice. The only thing that keeps you from being perfect is you haven't done a book on home smithing for the Garand. :)

But yes; we gave up the tar & feathers way too early in our political history. Still I'm afraid it may be too late. Not that I'm pessimistic because of the SCOTUS decision that my house belongs to the state or anything.

Which brings us back to the need to practice (& thus have places to practice) our shooting.

I'll ride up to LHC today & see what's going on, then from there try to visit as many of the ranges as I can find & see how many are closed.

Anonymous said...

Alright then, Margo Buttner with the Arapahoe/Roosevelt Office answered the question of "Where can I shoot on forest land?" with "Anywhere, as long as it is within these rules."

Safety Rules:
200 yards from a road
Not across roads or lakes
Not near(I assume 200yds) a developed area
Not into buildings and trees
Prefereably into a dirt embankment

Does anybody know if their favorite areas that have been closed follow these conditions?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, based on signs I've seen, she left off something, namely, "unless posted against shooting or carrying firearms". Case in point. Fourth of July Campground, in, IIRC, Arapahoe National Forest. At the trailhead, it's posted that firearms may not even be carried. Or, drive down Colorado Highway 67 (Pike's Peak National Forest) -- Rampart Range. You'll see a lot of signage stating that shooting is prohibited except in the pursuit of game (hunting license required).