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POPULAR SKY VALLEY FOREST ROAD CLOSED DUE TO IRRESPONSIBLE SHOOTERS
July 19, 2009
(GOLD BAR, WA) -- As the saying goes, leave it to a few to spoil it for the many. A popular US Forest Service road just east of Gold Bar a few miles, that leads to gorgeous back country and popular hiking trails, has been closed down to vehicular traffic due to irresponsible shooters.
Officials with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest say Forest Service Road 62 (also called Proctor Creek Road), which provides access to the Mount Persis trailhead, was closed Thursday until issues with target shooters can be resolved.
The gate at the entrance to the road has been locked, preventing vehicles, but not hikers, from entering and going up the road.
Officials with the Forest Service and Longview Timber, that owns the land, say there has been several encounters with target shooters recently and some contractors felt they came close to being shot.
Company workers found evidence that people are shooting the type of caliber bullet used in many assault rifles and they have also found dumped garbage and other vandalism the company assumes is being done by target shooters.
A Sky Valley Chronicle photographer taking photos for a story a few weeks back up the same road, found an area about three miles in from U.S. Highway 2 where spent shotgun casings and other caliber ammo casings littered a wide, flat area along with garbage.
He said it appeared someone had been using the flat top area to shoot, eat and drink all in the same session and decided to leave the mess for someone else to deal with.
Longview Timber says it does not have a problem with hikers, mountain bike riders or horseback riders from going up the road but they do not want target shooters going up in the area and creating a potentially deadly situation for hikers on trails in the area.
In August of last year a hiker, 54-year old Pam Almli of Oso, was killed on a Sauk Mountain trail in Skagit County. A 14-year old hunter said he mistook Almli for a bear.
The teen was sentenced to only 30 days in juvenile detention after being convicted of second-degree manslaughter.