When I think of visiting one of our many National Forests I imagine a lovely hike along a trail not unlike the one above. Staying at campground or having a picnic with family and friends was a part of my childhood in Oregon.
It was shocking to discover that there has been over 8,500 gun incidents in National Forests since 2010. There are currently a series of stories running at several news outlets about illegal shooting in National Forests. Bullets whizzing past hikers, killing a camper, striking the vehicle of a couple eating lunch and endangered Trees being mowed down with high-powered rifles. These are not hunting accidents, this is done by reckless individuals shooting in posted “No Shooting” areas. They have no regard for your safety so please contact the National Forest Service to check on incidents in the Forests in which you plan to hike.
Forests grapple with 8,500 gun incidents
“Since 2010, United States Forest Service officers handled 8,500 shooting incidents across the country. Of those, 926 were in the Pike-San Isabel. The reported illegal shooting has intensified precipitously in recent years.”
“Shooting and hunting is largely allowed across the 190 million acres that make up the U.S. Forest Service — roughly the size of Texas. In recent years, closures of some areas have pushed shooters to illegal areas, said Erin Connelly, supervisor of the Pike National Forest. In August, a string of incidents prompted the closure of an area just east of where Martin was killed. A couple’s Jeep was struck by a bullet while they ate lunch inside.”
Man killed by errant bullet in Pike National Forest highlights growing problem
“RAINBOW FALLS PARK — Spent shell casings and trees chewed raw by bullets litter campgrounds where families have come for decades in search of wilderness.
It was here, in the shadows of land scarred by the Hayman fire, that Glenn Martin, a 60-year-old Monument man enjoying the holiday with his family, was killed last week by an apparently errant shot as he waited to roast marshmallows.”
Temporary Target Shooting Ban in Croatan National Forest
“We’ve had an increase in the number of near misses on the Croatan and a near miss is literally somebody hearing a bullet flying by them,” Jim Gumm, District Ranger for Croatan National Forest, said.
The ban will last 120 days throughout the entire forest.
Gumm said another reason for the ban is concern for the environment.
“I’ve got literally hundreds of trees that are being mowed down with these high-powered rifles. I have endangered species that are being threatened,” Gumm said.