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May 22, 2024 1:10 PM
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Emergency Shooting Closure Order in Effect for Black Canyon Recreation Area Near Cottonwood, AZ

Prescott National Forest, (PNF) has issued an emergency Sub-Part B Closure Order prohibiting recreational shooting in the Black Canyon Recreation Area (BCRA) near Cottonwood, AZ, due to extreme risk to public health and safety concerns and unacceptable natural resource damage.  Order Number 03-09-05-24-02 is in effect as of Monday, May 6, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.  The Order and map are posted on the PNF website.

A portion of the BCRA has developed into a popular user created recreational shooting area. Due to wildland-urban interface and the existence of conflicting recreational activities, the proposed emergency order is necessary to protect the public health and safety and forest resources. This area is in close proximity to multiple Forest Service river day use sites, State Route 260, and a number of densely populated communities which include homes and businesses. Recreational shooting in the area poses an extreme risk to public health and safety, has generated conflicts between and among Forest users and private landowners, and has caused unacceptable damage to natural resources. Recreational shooting in the BCRA has increased to the point it has become a safety hazard not only for homes on the east side of the Verde River, but also for recreationists in and around the area.

Due to increased health and safety concerns and several reported ‘near-miss’ situations, PNF officials coordinated with community leaders and elected officials and gained support to implement the Shooting Closure Order, and the need to increase patrols in the area. BCRA lies entirely within the Cottonwood city limits.

Pending development of a permanent Order in compliance with the Dingell Act, this time-limited Emergency Closure Order is in place to protect health and safety of the recreating public, minimize the threat of wildfire from ricocheting ammunition, eliminate adverse impact to natural resources as a result recreational shooting, and prevent off-Forest threats to public health and safety.

A violation of the above prohibitions is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 16 U.S.C. § 551; 18 U.S.C. §§ 3559, 3571, and 3581.

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