Recreational target shooting is a popular use of Bureau of Land Management public lands. The Phoenix District Office is constructing four recreational shooting sports sites on public lands near the Phoenix metro area.
The sites will allow for active management and increased safety for shooting sports enthusiasts and other public land users near one of the most populated metro areas in the nation. These areas range from minimally developed to fully developed.
Three sites in the Hassayampa Field Office are now open. More sites will open in the coming months.
You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others at the site.
Shooting sites are self-service sites except during special events or when range personnel or volunteers are present. If you demonstrate unsafe firearm practices, you may be removed from the site.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult while in a site.
These supplementary rules were published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2021. View the full Federal Register notice here.
Rules and Prohibited Acts Within Developed Recreation Sites and Areas
- You must not block, restrict, place signs, create a hazardous condition, or otherwise interfere with the use of a road, gate, or other legal access to and/or through a developed recreation site or area boundary.
- You must pick up and properly dispose of pet excrement in the trash.
- You must not engage in disorderly conduct including, but not limited to: engaging in fighting, violent or seriously disruptive behavior; using abusive or offensive language or gestures to any person present in a manner likely to provoke immediate physical retaliation by such person; refusing to obey a lawful order; or recklessly handling, displaying or discharging a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
- You must not shoot at wildlife, livestock, or vegetation.
Rules and Prohibited Acts Within Recreational Shooting Sports Sites
In addition to the preceding supplementary rules, the following rules will apply within a recreational shooting sports site:
- You must not leave any personal property unattended within a site.
- You must not discharge a firearm or any other projectile device while an individual is beyond the designated firing line.
- You must not use, possess, consume, or be under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances as defined by State and/or Federal law.
- You must only use a site during the designated operating hours as defined in the BLM Phoenix District’s operating plan, which will also be posted at each site and listed on the BLM’s website www.blm.gov, and consistent with State law.
- You must not climb on any buildings or structures, occupied or unoccupied.
- You must only use authorized stationary targets as specified in the operating plan for each site. These targets may be made of cardboard, paper, self-healing, steel, and biodegradable clay (clay targets). All other items, such as aluminum cans, glass bottles, bowling pins, plastic bottles and other items which may leave debris, are not authorized to be used as targets. Exploding targets are prohibited. All user-supplied steel targets must be specifically designed for use with firearms and must be used at a distance of 100 yards or greater. Target frames must be designed to be reusable. The use of wooden pallets and other items not specifically designed as target frames are not authorized. All user-supplied targets, target frames, and debris must be removed from the site and disposed of properly after use and before leaving the site.
- You must not enter a site for any purpose other than activities associated with recreational shooting.
- Rifles and handguns are restricted to ammunition that is .50 caliber or less. Common shotgun ammunition, such as birdshot, buckshot, and slugs, is authorized. Sporting clay and skeet ranges are restricted to birdshot only. Steel core, armor-piercing, incendiary, and tracer ammunition and paintball equipment is prohibited.
- You must not enter the Hazardous Exclusion Areas.
- You must discharge a firearm only from a designated firing line towards an authorized target with a developed or designated backstop.
- You must not exceed the maximum occupancy posted at each site.
- Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult while in a site.
In January 2020, the BLM's Phoenix District published a final Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision Record approving the Recreational Shooting Sports Project, clearing the way for the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sites on public lands near the Phoenix metro area.
On March 12, 2021 the BLM published in the Federal Register the final supplementary rules for this project. The rules became effective April 12, 2021.
Recreational Shooting Sports Project Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Recreational Shooting Sports Project?
In January 2020, the Bureau of Land Management approved the construction and operation of five recreational shooting sports sites within the Phoenix District. Construction of the Baldy Mountain site began in the fall of 2020 followed closely by the Box Canyon, Church Camp Road, and Saddleback Mountain sites. Narramore Road has been planned, but construction has yet to be funded.
- Where are the sites?
Three sites in the Hassayampa Field Office—Baldy Mountain, Church Camp Road, and Saddleback Mountain—are north of Phoenix off State Route 74 (Carefree Highway). Box Canyon is in Pinal County west of Maricopa. The planned Narramore Road site is in Maricopa County west of Arlington.
- When will the sites open?
The Church Camp Road and Saddleback Mountain sites opened in October 2022. The other two sites are expected to open in 2023.
- What hours will the sites be open?
Once operational, the sites will be open for day-use only. Sites will open daily at 7 am. Closing time will vary throughout the year depending on the time of sunset. The sites will also be closed on alternating Wednesday mornings for maintenance and cleaning.
- Will the sites close every year during fire season?
Phoenix District staff will analyze conditions each year to determine if the developed shooting sites can stay open during fire season.
- Will I need to reserve a time to visit?
No, the sites are first-come, first-served. If a site is full, you may have to come back at another time.
- Will there be a fee for the sites?
The sites are intended to initially operate without fees. Should the BLM determine in the future that fees are needed to best manage the sites, we would develop a recreation business plan and engage the public for input before implementing any fees.
- Are the sites going to be staffed?
Staff and volunteers may be present on occasion, though the sites are not planned to be staffed during all open hours.
- What facilities will be at the sites?
Sites will have varying levels of development.
- Baldy Mountain
- There will be 100-, 200-, 300-, 400-, and 500-yard shooting lanes with fixed steel targets for long-range rifle shooting.
- Box Canyon
- There will be 50-, 100-, 200-, and 300-yard shooting lanes with three steel targets. There is also an area for sporting clay/skeet shooting. The site will also have toilets
- Church Camp Road
- There will be 50-, 100-, and 200-yard shooting lanes with fixed steel targets for rifle and pistol shooting. The site will also have toilets and picnic tables.
- Saddleback Mountain
- There will be 200-, 300-, 400-, 500-, and 700-yard shooting lanes with fixed steel targets for long-range rifle shooting.
- Baldy Mountain
- What rules will apply?
Supplementary rules were published in the Federal Register on March 12, 2021. View the full Federal Register notice here.
- What safety tips do you recommend?
You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of others at the site. Shooting sites are self-service sites. Check out these tips for responsible target shooting from Tread Lightly!
- Where can I get more information?
Learn about the BLM’s planning efforts for the Recreational Shooting Sports Project at the National NEPA Register. You can also contact the Phoenix District Office by phone at 623-580-5500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.