Neighbors take aim at irresponsible shooting in Vt. forest

Published: Sep. 22, 2017 at 5:31 PM EDT
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It is legal is shoot a firearm in any national forest in the country. But in Ripton, that's causing concern. Some in the area say there's an ongoing problem with irresponsible shooting in the Green Mountain National Forest.

"We're looking to give shooters a safe place to shoot and there's a lot of responsible guys who deserve that," Chris Pike said.

Pike is not shy when it comes to letting his voice be heard about people shooting at Sparks Pit.

"We just wanted a better evaluation of it," Pike said.

Rangers from the Green Mountain National Forest met with Pike and others who share the same concerns.

"There may have been some irresponsible shooting going on at the gravel pits, shooting overnight, shooting of explosive targets, leaving litter behind," said John Sinclair, the forest supervisor.

Sinclair wants restrictions, barring shooting from sunset to 8 a.m., as well as banning explosive targets.

"These are public lands and having these discussions and taking a little bit of public scrutiny of the management of public lands allows us to tell our story and we're all for it," Sinclair said.

Pike also brought up concerns about lead. Old bullet casings are scattered throughout the pit.

"It just seems that a bunch of toxic lead buildup doesn't seem to be the best use of forest land," Pike said.

One of Pike's concerns along with the potential lead is safety, as the road is nearby.

"The road is right around here and there's signs people are shooting in that direction," Pike said.

Both agree the ultimate solution is to build a shooting range but that requires a lot of time and a lot of money.

"We just need to find the right place and the right partners to come with us along that journey because it's not a one-time commitment, it's a long-term commitment," Sinclair said.

Sinclair told the group they would only test for lead contamination if they thought for it was not contained to the pit.