According to a report from the Bureau of Land Management, there are plans to significantly decrease the portion of the Sonoran Desert National Monument in Arizona that is available for recreational target shooting.
On Friday, the agency declared that they plan to amend the resource management plan, which would permit target shooting on 5,295 acres (2,143 hectares) of the monument. However, the remaining 480,496 acres (194,450 hectares) of the monument would still prohibit this activity.
At present, it is allowed to engage in target shooting on 435,700 acres (176,321 hectares) of the monument, which covers portions of Maricopa and Pinal counties.
According to a spokesperson from BLM, target shooting is still permitted in other lands managed by the bureau in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Critics claim that cultural and natural resources within the designated monument are at risk due to target shooting, resulting in harm to significant features like saguaro cactus and Native American petroglyphs.
An announcement was set to be published in the Federal Register on Monday, starting a 60-day period for public comments on the proposed closure of target shooting.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which falls under the U.S. Department of the Interior, oversees over 245 million acres of public land concentrated in 12 states in the Western region.