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9/19/2017 7:27:10 PM
Posted: 6/9/2002 6:39:35 PM EDT
From Subguns.com: Subject: Sam Houston NF range closing The Forest Service has released a scoping letter dated 6-7-02 proposing the release of a Forest Supervisor's Order to "Open the shooting areas of the Sam Houston National Forest (NF) seasonally and close them for the remainder of the year." Here is a quote of the pertinent section of the letter. "(The) new order would eliminate the year-round use of the designated shooting areas on the Sam Houston NF. During discussions with interested citizens concerning designation of that WMA, it was agreed the Forest Service would designate an area where hunters could 'sight in' their rifles. Standard WMA regulations require a designated target area to practice. Over the years, the use of these areas on the Sam Houston NF has grown to the extent that some individuals frequently use them for fully automatic weapon practice. Such use is clearly beyond the intent of why these areas were designated and well beyond the safety capabilities of these areas. During that time, numerous privately-owned shooting ranges that can accomodate all types of target shooting have been developed within reasonable driving distance of the Forest." "This new Forest Supervisor's Closure Order would: 1) seasonally close the existing Sam Houston NF shooting areas from the end of the gun deer hunting season until approximately one month prior to the opening of gun deer hunting season, 2) prohibit the use of selective fire, fully automatic, and machine guns, 3) require all ammunition cases be removed from the area following target practice, 4) set legal shooting hours one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset, and 5) limit targets to paper and clay products." End of quote. Public comments are being accepted on the proposed closure until 7-8-02. Comments should be addressed to: Glenn Donnahoe 701 North First Street Lufkin, TX 75901 Con't.....
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 6:40:24 PM EDT
con't... The following is my personal opinion, I don't own or shoot automatic weapons and have never been to the Sam Houston shooting area. However I have had over fifteen years experience fighting the Forest Service over ORV issues. This closure is typical of how the Forest Service in Texas operates. I doubt that any other notice will be given to the public other than to those on the mailing list. If you want this shooting area to stay open you have to generate lots of letters. The one closure order my ORV club was able to stop was done by flooding them with hundreds of letters. Form letters are less effective than individual letters and phone calls and emails are almost useless. The Forest Service fears Congress so the more pro Second Amendment Congressmen that intervene the better so write them too. Although I don't know the specific issues of the Sam Houston range I can offer some general suggestions on what to tell the Forest Service. First I'd try to frame this as a Second Amendment versus gun control issue. Point out that what you do is a legal activity and a legitiment recreational activity. I'd also question whether the Forest Service is pandering to a nongovermental organization with a political agenda, the Forest Service does this with ORV issues. I'd also bring up the historic use of automatic weapons on the Sam Houston and the lack of private ranges open to these weapons in the Huntsville/Houston area. These closure orders are impossible to reverse once implemented. Now is the time to fight the closure. Demand the Forest Service hold public hearings and demand to see evidence of the user conflicts that seem to be the justification for the closure.
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 6:43:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2002 6:49:09 PM EDT by brouhaha]
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 6:49:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By brouhaha: NOOOOO! Do you have a contact for this that I can complain to?! Nevermind...I'm blind. Let the letter writing begin!
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me too!!!!!!! dame them!
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 6:53:32 PM EDT
I'm assuming that this is one of the local TX shooting area's. Do you guys have a littering issue? I'd be willing to support you guys with a letter from myself, I have a couple of favorite spots similar to what you guys have. When I see area's that were once shooting spots, it makes me sad to see them get shut down. But I will say that if people are littering and leaving garbage everywhere, something needs to be done. It's sad when people litter everywhere when they shoot, it gives ALL OF US pro-gunners a bad name.
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 6:54:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/9/2002 6:55:13 PM EDT by SSD]
Originally Posted By brouhaha: NOOOOO! Do you have a contact for this that I can complain to?! Nevermind...I'm blind. Let the letter writing begin!
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DSR-1, thanks I had hoped to make it to a houston shoot sooner or later... SSD
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 7:00:36 PM EDT
i always pick up, but out there there is a pile of shot to hell crap. i think what really did us in was the people who shot full propain tanks to watch the fireball go up!
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 7:12:13 PM EDT
Please send letters. i have sent one already and hope that when i move to Texas later this month I will have somewhere to shoot. What else can be done?
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 9:22:47 PM EDT
i like this range cuz you can do rapid fire and bring w/e targets you want. at american center you cant do rapid fire. thats why i am going to write my letter!
Link Posted: 6/9/2002 11:27:26 PM EDT
You all are going to have an uphill battle as the 2nd amendment means duck hunting gun owners will support this measure. Wouldn't surprise me at all if they were the ones that suggested it to begin with.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 12:41:10 AM EDT
We had similiar problem here in South. Calif. at the Burro Canyon Shooting Range in the San Gabriel Valley, 30 miles east of L.A. Due to some technical mis-understandings and the range owners; and the U.S. Forest Service was going to close them down. I think a lot of pro-gun groups got together a letter writing campaign to their local U.S Congressman. The problem between the shooting range owners and the Forest Service was resolved and our beloved range now still open.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 5:06:05 AM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 7:12:52 AM EDT
Letter written, its on the thread over at the "other" forum if anyone would like to see what I wrote. The purpose for these closures is usually purely political, masked under the environmental concern or some other such issue. Personally, our group (many of us here and from the other gun boards) do indeed shoot reactive targets, propane cans, etc. But we clean our mess up, in fact we take great pains to do so. When the range is trashed by people who don't give a damn, we all suffer. I think its an issue of plain politics. Lets get those letters rolling, cross post this info to other boards you frequent, etc. Cheers!
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 7:16:36 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/10/2002 7:21:20 AM EDT by Citabria7GCBC]
i will write mine somtime today. although, i little advice on what i might put in it would be great since i have never done this before.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 8:09:20 AM EDT
couretesy of LINK310 from the "other" forum. ----------------------------------------------------------- If we can get enough people to type up letters(not emails) with the following guidelines: 1. Explain why you want the range to stay open(be polite) 2. Ask for evidence that it is being misused and is unsafe. 3. Explain that you are doing nothing wrong. 4. Cite examples on how during a group shoot you cleaned up or some thing. 5. Let them know that you have mailed all the Texas Senators a similar letter letting them know you are concerned. 6. (Optonal)Mention that is appears they are closing the range to meet a political agenda. 7. Inform them it would be unsafe to close the range because people would go off in the forest and shoot. 8. Again Be polite, no cussing, accusing, ect, this will get us no where.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 8:19:53 AM EDT
Why ban guns when you can make it illegal to shoot anywhere?
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 8:22:19 AM EDT
Originally Posted By DSR-1: couretesy of LINK310 from the "other" forum. ----------------------------------------------------------- If we can get enough people to type up letters(not emails) with the following guidelines: 1. Explain why you want the range to stay open(be polite) 2. Ask for evidence that it is being misused and is unsafe. 3. Explain that you are doing nothing wrong. 4. Cite examples on how during a group shoot you cleaned up or some thing. 5. Let them know that you have mailed all the Texas Senators a similar letter letting them know you are concerned. 6. (Optonal)Mention that is appears they are closing the range to meet a political agenda. 7. Inform them it would be unsafe to close the range because people would go off in the forest and shoot. 8. Again Be polite, no cussing, accusing, ect, this will get us no where.
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thanks i will surly us this!
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 10:01:53 AM EDT
You should ask them to enumerate specific problems with the way the range is currently being run and used. I'd suggest that FA and indiscriminant rapid fire may be ricocheting rounds over the backstop and into the forest beyond. Tracer fire may also be a problem. It sounds like folks may also be shooting at trash and other targets of opportunity or expediency then leaving the remains on site for others to deal with. Clearly exploding LP tanks is not appropriate behavior for public land and poses a fire danger as well. Suggest alternatives to shutting it down that address those issues. Someone who lives close by should take some photos of the backstop area and also consider what is downrange beyond the backstop to see if there is something that can be done to secure that area or at least shield it better. Suggest ways to modify shooter behavior that will allow the range to remain open while eliminating or at least significantly improving the problems. Frankly, among shooters, hunters, mountain bikers and ORVers, the majority of problems are caused by a minority of users who abuse the system, behave recklessly and break the rules. ORVers get a real bad name when folks wander onto footpath only marked trails and tear things up. Most ORVers, hunters, mountain bikers, shooters etc. obey the rules and common decency, but it only takes a few to make themselves such a nuissance that they spoil things for everyone else. Any time interests compete you are going to have a bitter battle on your hands between low-impact and high impact activities. Generally the more politically correct (and usually low-impact) interests will win the lion's share of publicity and public support. So instead of being obstructionist, you need to work with the NF to solve or at least alleviate the problems to the point of political satisfaction. That'll probably mean giving up full auto fire there and certainly mean giving up firing at trash and then leaving trash on the range. It may also mean a use or permit fee to pay for maintenance, improvements and supervision.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 11:21:57 AM EDT
the range is set in a uphill style with 4 small little berms. i sugjest the level it out instead of up hill and make on really huge berm at the end. make it tall and thick. then you can place tartgets at any length being 25yrds, 50yrds or 100yrds. safer too. i also think the park should have criminals shiped out to pick up the piles of trash once a month.
Link Posted: 6/10/2002 3:51:34 PM EDT
Here is a rough draft of mine. Feel free to copy it and add your own name or change in anyway you see fit. ATTN: Glenn Donnahoe 701 North First Street Lufkin, TX 75901 Subject: Sam Houston NF range closing After reading a recent letter of yours I would like to go on record by saying , "I OPPOSE THE CLOSING OF THE SAM HOUSTON NATIONAL FORREST FIREARMS RANGE." I would like to touch base on some of the things you are concerned about. "Over the years, the use of these areas on the Sam Houston NF has grown to the extent that some individuals frequently use them for fully automatic weapon practice." Why is this a problem? You should research the amount of trouble and money that machine gun owners have to go through to own these. For instance, $200 tax stamp, a face to face interview with the local chief of police which requires his OK and signature on the proper forms before ownership, and extensive back ground check by the F.B.I. with finger prints before ownership. All on the machine guns cost considerable amounts of money to own. I have seen some of them cost as much as $10,000. So, as you can see this isn't a hobby for the average "Joe Citizen". These are very serious law-abiding citizens who really enjoy this and know the seriousness of owning these firearms. "Such use is clearly beyond the intent of why these areas were designated and well beyond the safety capabilities of these areas." Please explain why this is not safe. I have had the luxury of shooting full auto machine guns at the national forest. The people I was shooting with ALWAYS, made sure that they were shooting safely. They always took the time to verify their targets and what was behind them. Everyone always had on the proper eye and ear protection. "During that time, numerous privately-owned shooting ranges that can accommodate all types of target shooting have been developed within reasonable driving distance of the Forest." Please list them all. I am only aware of one range that allows full auto fire and it is in Pasadena, TX. That sure is a long ways from the national forest. Personally this just seems to be another "UNIFORMED" decision on your part. I have meet several fine people will shooting in the national forest from many different walks of life. They vary from white collar to blue collar workers. Professionals and even Law Enforcement. You seem to stereo type us all as a bunch of "Gang Bangers" who are up to no good. I feel it to be necessary to contact the following organizations to help you with an informed decision. Texas State Rifle Association (TSRA) Gun Owners of America (GOA) National Rifle Association (NRA) Sincerely 89Saleen
Link Posted: 6/11/2002 11:07:43 AM EDT
Since I dont think the [blue]"ONE MAN ONE VOICE"[/blue] concept will work since our numbers that will [i]actualy[/i] repley is so low. Would making [red]X[/red] amount of copys of my letter be a good idea?. Im thinking simply signing them with diffrent names.. does the envolope have to have a return address... will they even be read.. or just counted..? or will this idea simply hurt instead of help .. My thoughts are .. if every one sends 20 instead of one,,, higher number count.. and since i dont really believe they will even be read.. whats the harm? Listining....
Link Posted: 6/11/2002 12:51:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By cluster: Since I dont think the [blue]"ONE MAN ONE VOICE"[/blue] concept will work since our numbers that will [i]actualy[/i] repley is so low. Would making [red]X[/red] amount of copys of my letter be a good idea?. Im thinking simply signing them with diffrent names.. Don't do that. It'll be pretty obvious that you are stuffing the ballot box so to speak and you will be discounted. Spellcheck and grammar check your letter before sending it. Simple things like that will detract from your credibility. Form letters are not highly regarded in these matters, each person's letter should be unique in composition if not content. People from outside of Texas have little voice in this since they cannot vote out Texas congresscritters, so ensure that all the folks you talk to are Texans and make sure they CC their federal senators and congresscritters. Can't hurt to talk to the local guys either. Here's the last bit. Print the letters out and send them registered mail. It shows you care enough to actually spend a little money on the issue. does the envolope have to have a return address... will they even be read.. or just counted..? or will this idea simply hurt instead of help .. My thoughts are .. if every one sends 20 instead of one,,, higher number count.. and since i dont really believe they will even be read.. whats the harm? Listining....
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Link Posted: 6/12/2002 8:49:55 AM EDT
My letter is in the mail. I was going to point out to him that I felt that shooting sports have as much value in the National Forest as all the other activities that they allow i.e. fishing, mountain biking, hiking etc but, I had already written a whole page and figured it would get lost in the letter. If someone feels this is a good point, maybe they can include it in theirs.
Link Posted: 6/13/2002 4:38:32 PM EDT
Well this sucks. I wonder if it will affect the "non shooting" shooting areas? [;)]
Link Posted: 6/14/2002 4:04:46 PM EDT
I wonder how stuffed this guy's mailbox will be for the next few weeks as this gets around? :D: Here's a copy of mine..... June 13, 2002 ATTN: Glenn Donnahoe 701 North First Street Lufkin, TX 75901 Re: Proposed closure of the Sam Houston National Forrest public range Mr. Donnahoe, I was recently apprised of your decision to summarily close the public range at the Sam Houston National Forrest. My understanding is that either you or someone who has contacted you has a problem with how the range is being used. Specifically, it seems that any person discharging fully automatic weapons or rapid firing semi-autos is “using the facility beyond the intent of why these areas were designated and well beyond the safety capabilities of these areas.” You also seem to have a problem with the range being used outside of gun deer season with the exception of the month prior to season opening. I’d like to focus on these two points and present another point of view that you may not have considered before making this decision. As to the use of fully automatic weapons and rapid firing semi-autos, what exactly is the problem? Are you under the assumption that such weapons are inherently illegal, thus implying that those who are drawn to the range are criminals? If this is your assumption, I’d like to call your attention to the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934. This act restricted civilian ownership of fully automatic weapons (that had previously been unregulated), and set out some very strict requirements, all of which must be met before a citizen is able to purchase and possess any NFA restricted weapon. These restrictions include, but are not limited to, a $200 tax, FBI background check, fingerprints, interview and approval of local L.E. chief, and up to a 6-month wait. Since manufacture of new machine guns for civilian ownership ceased in May 1986, a fixed supply market has elevated the price of these weapons to near investment status making it cost-prohibitive to many. After obtaining one of these weapons, an owner quickly learns that there is virtually nowhere that will allow their operation. Your range facility (approximately 100 miles away from my house) is the only place I know of to go. As to your concerns that the range is not designed to safely accommodate sub-machine guns, I would point out that the deer rifles out there have significantly more powerful calibers being employed. If you are concerned about a 9mm, a .300 Win Magnum should scare you to death. Unfortunately, I doubt that caliber is your true concern. More likely, it is what type of weapon is being used, and that disturbs me. It also suggests that you are unfairly profiling citizens who use your facility based upon the types of weapons they shoot or own. While you may not personally agree with or share my recreational preferences, as a public official charged with the care custody and control of public land, you cannot allow your personal or political beliefs, or the personal political beliefs of others, to influence your decision or infringe on my rights to legally use public land.
Link Posted: 6/14/2002 4:05:27 PM EDT
(continued) Contrary to media inspired perception, not all people who own and shoot military style semi-auto weapons are gangsters or kooks intent on overthrowing the government. We don’t drive around searching for the infamous “black helicopters”, and we don’t line our baseball caps with tin foil. We shoot these weapons for recreation purposes, and the National Forrest is the only area I know of where we can shoot in this manner. Just as others engaging in legal forms of recreation have turned to public land, so have enthusiasts for firearms. We are entitled to and demand equal consideration as citizens who choose to uses the National Forrest for other legal purposes. You cite safety concerns in your letter announcing the closure of the facility, but make no specific reference to any situation. Certainly if there is a valid safety concern for the use of this range by weapons other than deer rifles, there must be at least one instance you can point to. In the years that I have been going to your facility, the only truly unsafe acts that I have witnessed have been shooters who are at the facility intoxicated. Guess what, they did not come with the group of us shooting military style weapons; they were there to shoot their deer rifle instead. If safety truly is a concern, why not look for ways to improve the range rather than just shutting it down. Are you aware that the National Guard or Army Reserve Engineers often look for such projects for their weekend training? Have you explored the possibility of allowing them to train on your property while improving it and enhancing the safety factor? Are you even willing to do so? I know that the Army Corps of Engineers have the training and design expertise to build just about any firearm range you can imagine. They have build some very fine facilities in the past for use by local law enforcement agencies, and should be able to easily accommodate a simple range with no moving / pneumatic targets. It is my understanding that your interpretation of the National Forrest range was to give people access to a range facility where none other existed. Perhaps in that day there were not as many professionally benched fixed range facility as there are now. I must admit, that when it is time to work with one of my scoped rifles, I choose a range that is not only more convenient, but also more modern. In short, your range was created to fill a gap, and it served that purpose well in its day. The difference is that the gap that now needs filling is different. I am sure that you have recently been flooded with mail concerning this subject, and I hope that you will take the time to consider your decision carefully. I am sure that you are aware that this is an election year, and I intend to make my representatives fully aware of this unacceptable situation. Furthermore, I am urging all firearm enthusiasts that I know to do the same because I feel that your decision is patently unfair. Myself and others who enjoy this public range will be happy to work with you in any way that we can. Up until now it has been limited to cleaning up after ourselves and others who were less considerate, but I am willing to do more. Saleen
Link Posted: 6/14/2002 5:24:26 PM EDT
Letter went out today.
Link Posted: 6/18/2002 1:54:09 PM EDT
I used some of ya'lls ideas Here's what I sent: Dear Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to object to your proposal to eliminate the year round use of the designated shooting areas in the Sam Houston National Forest. The use of firearms in the designated shooting areas is a legal and legitimate recreational activity. The Monitoring and Evaluation Report For 1997-1999 states that the designated shooting areas were established to manage the Wildlife Management Areas and still give the public a target area if they do not purchase a hunting area permit. You state that, “such use is clearly beyond the intent of why these areas were designated and well beyond the safety capabilities of these areas.” This contradicts the findings from the Report, which states that “[the shooting areas] limit gun fire in the national forest to known sites and helps to prevent individuals from shooting across one of the more than 190 miles of pedestrian trails.” Please give evidence as to why the shooting areas are not safe. Every time I have visited the shooting area, everyone in attendance has verified that their targets have a proper backstop, used safe firearm handling techniques, and utilized hearing and eye protection. The safety capabilities of any activity in the National Forest are governed by the participants, whether it be riding off-road vehicles, ie. riding on the designated trails at a speed which would not create a hazard to others, or the lawful use of campfires in the camping areas. If safety is still a concern, lets look at ways to improve the shooting area, rather than closing it. According to the Multiple Use-Sustained Yield Act of 1960, “resources on public lands would be managed so that they are used in the combination that will best meet the needs of the people...”. Your proposal definitely does not meet the needs of the people. It does infringe on the people's rights to legally use public land. People in the Tomball/Magnolia area would be forced to drive a great distance to use the “numerous privately owned shooting ranges” if the shooting area is closed. I would like to know how you came to the conclusion of closing the shooting area. You have not given one good reason to justify that decision. Is a non-governmental organization with a political agenda pressuring you? This recreation is governed by law. Are there any use conflicts? A viable solution can be worked out to accommodate the needs of the people. Is the shooting area upkeep putting a strain on the budget? A self-serve payment kiosk can be implemented to help fund improvements and maintnence. I would be happy to work with you in any way that I can. I, and many others hope that you will think twice about your proposal. I will be contacting my Congressional representatives. Sincerely, CAM_PIN
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