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California Desert District
Release Date: 09/23/09
Contacts: David Briery , 951-697-5220  
  Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217  

BLM closes Airport Mesa recreational shooting for safety reasons

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has closed 210 acres of public lands near Airport Mesa in eastern San Diego County to recreational shooting due to concerns that shooting is putting U.S. Border Patrol agents in danger. Officials state that the closure order is effective as of September 23 and signs will be posted as quickly as possible.

Vicki Wood, BLM El Centro field manager, said the U.S. Border Patrol officially requested the closure out of concern that necessary increased border security activities in the area in close proximity to the recreational shooting is placing the agents "in the line of fire or in danger of ricochet bullets," according to the BP request.

"The safety of federal officers in performance of their duties is important to everyone," Wood said. "The closure of this popular recreational shooting is unfortunate, but the closure is necessary to protect the agents who are patrolling our borders." 

She added that this indefinite closure will allow BLM to go through its land use plan amendment process to both permanently close the area and review options. "We understand this area is important for the recreational shooting public because most of the land in San Diego County is restricted from shooting.  These displaced users will want to know where they might practice their sport. The nearest BLM areas are in Imperial County and we recognize the users will want us to explore closer areas, if available, as part of that planning process. We welcome their input."

The official shooting restriction notice will be published in the Federal Register. The closure order is under the authority of 43 Code of Federal Regulations 8364.1, which includes penalties for violations, including fines and jail sentences.   The order can be obtained by contacting the El Centro Field Office at (760) 337-4400.  


California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos      Moreno Valley, CA 92553   

Last updated: 09-28-2009