Forest Shooting Area May Change Hands

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Faced with rising costs and shrinking budgets, Angeles National Forest may allow a nonprofit organization to operate its Kentucky Shooting Area.

Located about five miles south of Palmdale along Angeles Forest Highway, the Kentucky Shooting Area, one of six remaining sites in the forest where shooting is allowed, is used by thousands of people a month. Its use has increased as two other shooting areas have been shut down, said Dianne Cahir, a spokeswoman for Angeles National Forest.

The American Firearms Education Institute, a nonprofit organization, is proposing to operate the Kentucky Shooting Area, under permit by the U.S. Forest Service.

Public comments on the proposal will be taken from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Monday at 11075 Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Ramada Inn, 300 W. Palmdale Blvd., Palmdale.

The firearms institute and Tujunga Ranger District are preparing an environmental assessment in anticipation of the institute's operation of the shooting area.

Unlike the Forest Service, the institute, Cahir said, would charge shooters a fee to use the area. The organization would also improve the shooting area.

If the institute does not take over operation of the Kentucky Shooting Area, Cahir said it would be closed or continue under the management of the Forest Service, which lacks funds to provide regular supervision and cleanup.

Even when volunteers clear the trash and debris from the shooting area, she said, it costs the Forest Service $10,000 to $15,000 in waste dumping fees and supplies.

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