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Notice

Notice of Closure: Target Shooting Public Safety Closure on the Lake Mountains in Utah County, UT

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), pursuant to its regulations, is maintaining an existing closure of approximately 900 acres of public land on the Lake Mountains in Utah County, Utah, to the discharge or use of firearms or dangerous weapons Start Printed Page 74112for the purposes of recreational target shooting to protect public safety, property and resources. This closure does not restrict other public activities or access to the Lake Mountains area.

DATES:

This notice reestablishes the temporary target shooting closure order within the described area for no longer than two years from December 15, 2014, or earlier if a land use planning decision is completed.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rebecca Hotze, Field Manager; Phone: 801-977-4300; Salt Lake Field Office; 2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard, West Valley City, Utah 84119; email: blm_ut_sl_mail@blm.gov.

Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal hours.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This temporary closure affects public lands on the Lake Mountains, Utah County, Utah. The legal description of the affected public lands is:

Salt Lake Meridian, Utah

T. 7 S., R. 1 E.

Sec. 6, lot 1, NE1/4SE1/4;

Sec. 7, lot 1.

T. 7 S., R. 1 W.

Sec. 13, lots 2, 11, 12 and portions of lots 3, 4, 9, and 10, and the SE1/4SW1/4 lying east of the 345 KV power line*;

Sec. 24, portions of lots 1-3, 10, 13, 17, 18, and portions of lots 11 and 12, and the NW1/4 lying east of the 345 KV power line*;

Sec. 26, NW1/4NE1/4, NW1/4SW1/4, and portions of the N1/2NW1/4 lying east of the 345 KV power line*;

*BLM right-of-way UTU 0115794.

The area described contains approximately 900 acres more or less.

The Salt Lake Field Office hereby closes a portion of the Lake Mountains, Utah County, Utah, to all target shooting for public safety reasons. The area will be closed under the authority of 43 CFR 8364.1—Closures and Restrictions and in conformance with BLM Washington Office Instruction Memorandum 2013-035, Requirements for Processing and Approving Temporary Public Land Closure and Restriction Orders. Due to unsafe conditions and danger to the public, it is imperative for the BLM to reestablish the closure on the area.

The Lake Mountains are a small mountain range located on the west side of Utah Lake. The range is only about 8 miles wide and 12 miles long. The city of Saratoga Springs borders the north side of the mountains and Eagle Mountain City is along the west side. State Highway 68 runs along the eastern bench of the Lake Mountains; it is a main arterial road and is used by residential, agricultural and recreational traffic. There are a number of communication sites on the top of the mountain, as well as a major power line that runs along a lower elevation ridge. Across Highway 68, there are private residences along the lake shore. Utah Lake is a popular area for recreationists, boaters, and anglers. A lake access point known as “the Knolls” is one of the few public access points on the western shoreline and is located just off Highway 68. The Lake Mountains are comprised of a mixed ownership pattern of lands managed by the BLM, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), and several private property owners. The area encompassed by the closure is primarily used by residents of Utah County and southern Salt Lake County for target shooting.

Prior to the 2012 closure, the Lake Mountains received about 4,000 target shooters each month; and on weekends, as many as 400 shooters concentrated into 5 areas, and other dispersed locations. The slopes of the Lake Mountains provide a natural backstop ideal for target shooting; however, some shooters chose to target practice in the relatively flat terrain on the lower slopes. Given the topography of the area and the number of people who visit it, the area subject to this Order is not conducive to safe target shooting. Target shooting in the area has resulted in nearby private residences being shot and near-misses of automobiles and people. An additional danger is the annual threat from target shooting-related wildfires adjacent to private residences, a major power line located on the eastern bench, communication towers on the ridge top, and public land resources.

The previous two-year closure proved effective in redirecting target shooting to safer locations, allowing cleanup of the area, eliminating illegal dumping and significantly reducing target shooting-related wildfires. Since the implementation of the closure in August 2012, no near-misses from errant gunfire have been reported to law enforcement.

Since the implementation of the original 2012 target shooting safety closure, several additional actions have been taken by private landowners, other agency partners and the BLM to augment the closure. Regular patrols have been conducted by the Utah County Sheriff's Office, BLM law enforcement rangers and private property owners. Barricades have been installed to identify the closure boundary, especially along private property and in areas receiving recurring violations, such as the Little Cove area. Utah County is completing the construction of a fence along the west side of Highway 68 with gates to allow public access on a few controlled routes. Utah County also has started planning for development of a nearby managed target shooting range. In April 2014, SITLA closed approximately 1,500 acres of state lands adjacent to and near the BLM closure to recreational access. Additionally, the BLM is initiating an amendment to its land use plan to develop a more permanent solution for the target shooting issues in this area. With the closure and these subsequent actions, volunteers have been able to clean up the large amounts of trash and household appliances in these areas.

This closure is made under the authority of the regulations in 43 CFR 8364.1—Closures and Restrictions, and is in conformance with BLM Washington Office Instruction Memorandum 2013-035, Requirements for Processing and Approving Temporary Public Land Closure and Restriction Orders. 43 CFR 8364.1(a) states: “To protect persons, property, and public lands and resources, the authorized officer may issue an order to close or restrict use of designated public lands.” The closure only applies to the discharge or use of firearms or dangerous weapons for the purposes of recreational target shooting and does not affect legal hunting. Any person who violates the above restriction may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined no more than $1,000, imprisoned for no more than 12 months, or both. Such violations also may be subject to the enhanced fines provided for in 18 U.S.C. 3571.

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Authority: 43 CFR 8364.1

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Jenna Whitlock,

Associate State Director.

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[FR Doc. 2014-29277 Filed 12-12-14; 8:45 am]

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