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Part Of Sonoran Desert National Monument Closes To Study Impacts of Target Shooting

Sonoroan Deset National Monument
(Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management)
A lawsuit over the environmental impacts of target shooting on public land has prompted the federal government to shut down a portion of the Sonoran Desert National Monument.

A lawsuit over the environmental impacts of target shooting on public land has prompted the federal government to shut down a portion of the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The closure takes effect this week and will last for about two years.

The area deemed off limits will encompass 10,000 acres on the north side of the national monument. That will give the Bureau of Land Management time to analyze how target shooting could be affecting the habitat, wildlife and the safety of hikers.

Adam Eggers with the BLM said this study could have broader implications for recreational shooting on public land.

“The process that we’re going through, the partnerships that we’re building, it’s not just something that’s only for the Sonoran Desert National Monument," Eggers said. "It’s something that can be possibly applied to other locations in Arizona and other states, as well.”

Eggers said that is why they are trying to bring as many stakeholders to the table as possible. Eventually, the agency will develop a new management plan that takes into account the findings.

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Will Stone grew up with the sounds of public radio. As a senior field correspondent, he strives to tell the same kind of powerful stories that got him into the business — whether that means trudging through some distant corner of the Sonoran Desert or uncovering an unknown injustice right down the street. Since joining the KJZZ newsroom in 2015, he has covered political scandals, fights over the future of energy, and efforts to care for some of Arizona’s most vulnerable communities. His pieces have also aired on national programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now and Marketplace. Before coming to KJZZ, he reported for public radio stations in Nevada and Connecticut. Stone received his degree in English literature from Haverford College, where he also wrote about the arts and culture scene in Philadelphia. After graduating, he interned at NPR West in Culver City, California, where he learned from some of the network’s veteran reporters and editors. When he doesn’t have a mic in hand, Stone enjoys climbing mountains, running through his central Phoenix neighborhood and shamelessly promoting his cat, Barry.