Apr 4, 2013 10:11 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
TUCSON- For years recreational shooters turned to Redington Pass to target practice, leaving behind shells, casings and riddled signs.
But now the shooting ranges are temporarily closed and there is an effort underway to restore the Coronado National Forest Land.
"It's often considered now a "wild west" kind of place," says Kirk Emerson.
Emerson is president of a non-profit called "Friends of Redington Pass". She helped form the 50-member group a couple of years ago. "We're interested in providing better management and enforced recreation for all users on the pass," Emerson says.
It's an effort that really started taking shape in January, when the Forest Service closed three shooting ranges between mileposts five and seven, then hauled away 75 tons of trash left behind. "People would bring out old TVs and other appliances, then shoot at them as targets," Emerson says. "So there were concerns about possible lead exposure."
The Forest Service tells News 4 Tucson they have sent out samples of the soil from the shooting ranges to get tested. The ranges will remain closed until they get the results back.
Meanwhile, there is a proposal to build a managed shooting range along the pass. It's something Emerson hopes would help to keep the land clean. "That would be really helpful to those who want to target shoot up here," Emerson says. "So we have worked with them and the NRA and Tucson Rod and Gun Club to encourage a sound proposal."
If you would like to learn more about "Friends of Redington Pass" they are holding two open houses this weekend. They will take place at the new information kiosk , just ½ mile east of the Lower Tanque Verde Falls Trail Head .
April 6th, Saturday 8:00am - 4:00pm
April 7th, Sunday 8:00am - 12:00pm
For more information visit: www.friendsofredingtonpass.org/