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California Desert District
Release Date: 11/19/12
Contacts: David Briery , 951-697-5220  
  Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217  
News Release No. CA-CDD-13-13

BLM Agrees to Extend Airport Mesa Recreational Shooting Closure for Safety Reasons

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has extended the closure of 210 acres of public lands near Airport Mesa in eastern San Diego County to recreational shooting in response to concerns that shooting is putting U.S. Border Patrol agents in danger. The area has been closed to shooting since 2009. 

Tom Zale, BLM El Centro Associate Field Manager, said the U.S. Border Patrol officially requested the closure out of concern that necessary increased border security activities in close proximity to the recreational shooting area placed 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," Zale said.  "The closure of this popular recreational shooting area is unfortunate, but necessary to protect the agents who are patrolling our borders." 

He added that two-year extension of the closure will allow BLM to go through its land use plan amendment process to consider permanently closing 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,” said Zale.  “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 was 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: 11-19-2012