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East County News Service

October 21, 2010, (Ramona) -- The Palomar Ranger District of Cleveland National Forest in Ramona is maintaining closure of the Orosco Ridge Recreational Target Shooting Area for an indefinite amount of time, due to public safety concerns. Those include an accidental shooting, near misses at or near the range, and repeated wildfire starts caused by use of both legal and illegal firearms, the U.S. Forest Service reports.


Discharging a firearm, air rifle, or gas gun in the shooting area for any purpose is prohibited during this temporary closure. However, public access and general recreational uses are allowed.


Additionally, a determination must be made on whether or not the current facility meets federal and state legal requirement related to hazardous metals that result from shooting firearms, and or indiscriminate placement of targets such as old appliances, and discarded electronics equipment.


To address the environmental concerns, the Forest Service is currently conducting an environmental study of the shooting area to determine if corrective action needs to be taken concerning hazardous materials. “This study will provide us the information needed to determine if an environmental site clean-up needs to take place,” added Ranger Friedlander. “With this information, and also information we are seeking from outdoor shooting range safety experts, we can then proactively move ahead in determining the future of public shooting area management on the District.” The District is planning to have all the needed information by the end of December.


Orosco Ridge will be open to the public for other uses during the temporary closure to shooting. The Forest Service has opened the gate to Orosco Ridge, however this and other gates on this district are occasionally closed due to wet weather conditions that could make the road impassable and or expensive to repair. Hunting during the scheduled California hunting season for the area will be allowed except for the area inside the target shooting boundary. Members of the public that desire to access the Orosco Ridge area should contact the Palomar Ranger District Office to check on the current road conditions.


Please report illegal activity by calling the Cleveland National Forest Dispatch which is open on a 24 hour basis (619-557-5262). Dial 911 for immediate law enforcement assistance, especially in cases of life threatening or medical emergencies.


Current conditions pertaining to the Orosco Ridge area is available online at (click on “current conditions”) or you may call the Palomar Ranger District Office at (760) 788-0250 to speak to someone or listen to our voice recording.


The Orosco Ridge Recreational Target Shooting Area, located on the Palomar Ranger District in the Cleveland National Forest, encompasses approximately 500 acres along Orosco Ridge Road (FS Road 12S03) in Pamo Valley.