Wilderness Society attorney Phil Hanceford, who sued the BLM over its reversal in September, told Guerin, "This is not just turning a blind eye to someone else's science. It's looking straight at their own science and completely disregarding their own recommendation." High Country News is subscription only, but can be accessed by clicking here.
After the tour, John Tomke, chair of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Council, wrote a letter to BLM Director Robert Abbey, saying: "When then-[Interior] Secretary Bruce Babbitt recommended BLM keep management of the SDNM, it was understood that these special landscapes would remain open to the traditional recreational activities that had taken place for decades. Recreational shooting is one of those traditional activities. Dispersed recreational shooting is a valued recreational activity unto itself and is also a gateway into more formal shooting sports and hunting. Recreational shooting is a critical element in the process of becoming a hunter and shooting sports enthusiast, and given the importance of hunting and recreational shooting in the funding of wildlife conservation in America it is imperative that we do all we can to further recruitment and retention of hunters and recreational shooters." Tomke argued that there aren't enough public shooting areas in the Phoenix area for the number of recreational shooters who live there, better clean-up plans could be instituted, and the monument has enough room for specific shooting-only areas, or re-routing hiking trails to accommodate shooters. (Read more)