WDFW Hosts Meetings On Target Shooting Options For Wenas Wildlife Area
April 1, 2016
YAKIMA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will hold public meetings this month to discuss target shooting options for the Wenas Wildlife Area located between Ellensburg and Yakima. The meetings will focus on the department’s plans to develop designated shooting areas to improve public safety and reduce fire risk while preserving target shooting opportunities at the wildlife area.
The meetings are scheduled for:
6 p.m., Tuesday, April 26, at the Hal Holmes Center, 209 N. Ruby St., Ellensburg.
6 p.m., Wednesday, April 27, at Selah Middle School, 411 N. First St., Selah.
Unregulated target shooting is a chronic problem throughout the 105,000-acre wildlife area, said WDFW Wildlife Area Manager Cindi Confer Morris. Target shooting at a number of informal locations at the north and south ends of the wildlife area have caused several fires in recent years, endangered public safety and created significant litter issues.
After gathering input from target shooters, residents and wildlife area recreation users at public meetings last year, the department focused on two possible locations to develop a designated shooting range on the south end of the wildlife area.
One possible location is the existing Sheep Company site along Sheep Company Road. The second option, located about a mile north, is the Bull Pasture site.
The agency’s preferred option is development of a shooting range at the Bull Pasture site, which will include:
Construction of a 25-yard and 100-yard shooting alley with safety berms;
Creation of a shotgun/trap shooting area; and
Graveled parking area for 40 vehicles.
Confer Morris said the Bull Pasture site is the agency’s preferred location because it has the greatest potential for reducing fire risk and improving safety for recreational users. Fill material onsite would allow for 20-foot safety berms, making it the more cost-effective site option, she said.
“The visible location of the Bull Pasture site would also help reduce illegal activity and enforcement challenges at the Wildlife Area,” Confer Morris said. “We expect this new location for target shooting would provide a positive environment for shooters of all ages and levels.”
If the department decides to move forward, construction would start early next year.
In addition to developing a new shooting range, the department proposes to:
Restrict recreational target shooting to the existing Durr Road West shooting area on the north end of the wildlife area, and the selected site along Sheep Company road on the south end.
Close Buffalo Road to motorized access to reduce user conflicts.
Maintain fire season shooting restrictions during late spring and summer.
The public meetings will include a presentation with details of the shooting range site options. After the presentation, the public will have the opportunity to provide input to WDFW staff.
More information about the Wenas Wildlife Area is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/wenas/.