Yacolt Burn forest shooting plan on hold

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



State officials say they need additional time to determine the best way to manage target shooting in the Yacolt Burn State Forest.

In May 2016, the state Department of Natural Resources had a public meeting in Vancouver to solicit public comment regarding target shooting in the 90,000-acre forest in eastern Clark and western Skamania counties.

About 85 locals gave agency staff an earful including potential areas to allow shooting plus concerns about garbage, noise and safety.

Brock Milliern, DNR conservation, recreation and transactions division manager, told the group DNR wants to manage target shooting, but not eliminate it.

It was hoped the department would have a proposal to share with the public in the fall of 2016.

That didn’t happen.

“We heard a wide range of comments, thoughts and ideas for recreational target shooting in Yacolt Burn State Forest, though we didn’t hear a clear path to guide next steps,’’ Milliern said. “With that in mind, we may spend more time analyzing possible solutions in this landscape.’’

Target shooting is allowed on state forest lands during daylight hours, in areas with an earthen backstop that can stop bullets safely, but not within 500 feet of a structure, recreation site or across, along or down a road or trail.

In the Yacolt Burn State Forest, no-shooting corridors also exist for eight miles on road L-1000 between Livingston Mountain and Dole Valley, the first mile of road L-1500 and the north side of road L-1400.

DNR also held meetings in spring 2016 regarding target shooting in Capitol, Tahuya and Harry Osborne state forests.

Milliern said work is progressing first in Tahuya State Forest.

“We always strive to make lasting decisions,’’ he said. “That’s why we will sequence changes to target shooting where the ideas and path is the clearest…These steps help inform the best decisions later on in Yacolt.’’

Milliern said there is no specific time line when DNR will take the next steps regarding Yacolt Burn State Forest.