BLM to host virtual scoping meetings on recreational target shooting at the Sonoran Desert National Monument

The BLM is considering an amendment to the monument’s resource management plan.


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Phoenix District Office

Media Contact:

Chris Wonderly, Public Affairs Specialist

PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management Lower Sonoran Field Office will host two virtual scoping meetings as it considers an amendment to the Sonoran Desert National Monument Resource Management Plan. The purpose of the amendment is to determine where and whether recreational target shooting should be allowed inside the monument, to meet the terms of an April 2022 settlement agreement.

The virtual scoping meetings are scheduled for October 12 and 13 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The meetings will also be recorded and posted to the BLM Arizona YouTube channel. Interested parties can register for the October 12 and October 13 meetings via Zoom.

A 30-day public scoping period began following an August 24 notice of intent in the Federal Register. The BLM is seeking input on issues, potential alternatives, and planning criteria to be addressed in an environmental assessment associated with the plan amendment. While the comment period announced in the Federal Register ended September 23, the BLM will continue to accept comments until October 28, 15 days after the last public scoping meeting.

The Sonoran Desert National Monument was established in 2001 and contains about 486,400 acres of BLM-managed public lands in Maricopa and Pinal counties. About 435,700 acres are currently available for recreational target shooting. 

The BLM completed a resource management plan for the monument in 2012. Under a March 2015 court order, the BLM was required to reanalyze the impacts of recreational target shooting in the monument. In 2018, the BLM amended the resource management plan to allow dispersed recreational shooting in about 90 percent of the monument. That decision was challenged in 2019, and a settlement agreement in that case requires the current planning effort. 

Interested parties may submit scoping comments on issues, alternatives, and planning criteria related to the plan amendment online at the BLM’s National NEPA Register, via email to, or via mail to BLM, Sonoran Desert National Monument, Attn.: RMPA EA, 2020 E. Bell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85022. 

Following the public scoping period, the BLM will consider all public comments and suggestions and develop a range of alternatives related to recreational target shooting at the monument. An environmental assessment and plan amendment will analyze the effects of each alternative and will be made available for further public review and comment. 

Upon completion of the proposed plan amendment and environmental assessment, the BLM will select an alternative that manages recreational shooting while protecting monument objects and public health and safety.

To request reasonable accommodation for the virtual scoping meetings, contact Chris Wonderly at 602-818-8295 or at

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.