TUCSON – Redington Pass visitors had to go through a Forest Service checkpoint Saturday.
Forest and National Park rangers along with the Arizona Game and Fish Department made sure visitors followed the law.
People legally shoot firearms in areas next to the main road. Many of them leave their empty cartridge casings and targets on the ground.
“You come out here to shoot,” Shephard Luke said, “and it just ruins the sport, makes a gun owner look bad.”
Law enforcement stopped about 250 vehicles, reminding shooters to pick up their trash.
A driver admitted shooting, but did not have the empty casings. A Game and Fish officer turned him around and told him to pick up his empty rounds.
Heidi Schewel is the spokesperson for the Coronado National Forest. She says the checkpoint was all about education.
“Here’s what’s responsible. Here’s what’s acceptable,” Schewel said. “These are public lands to be used and enjoyed by everybody. Let’s keep them that way, so everybody can really enjoy them and use them.”
Forest rangers arrested 4 people for outstanding warrants.
Officers gave 11 citations including marijuana possession, underage drinking and an illegally killed deer.
Many who went through the checkpoint appreciated the enforcement.
“I don’t mind it at all,” Michael Lachapelle said. “They’re keeping things regulated, making sure that people are doing what they’re supposed to do, cleaning up after themselves. So it’s good.”
The Forest Service will work on an area management plan for Redington Pass starting January 1. They want shooters, hikers, hunters and everybody else to be able to use the area.
They will close 3 shooting sites and remove trash including lead bullets.
The Forest Service is considering the possibility of an official shooting range in the area.