The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will conduct two public meetings this month to discuss possible solutions to safety issues and other concerns associated with target shooting on the Wenas Wildlife Area near Ellensburg.
The meetings will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the following locations:
- Tuesday, May 15, Hal Holmes Center, 209 N. Ruby St., Ellensburg
- Wednesday, May 16, Selah Civic Center, 216 S. First St., Selah
Target shooting is allowed on the 114,150-acre area Wenas Wildlife Area, but is causing increasing problems including safety issues, environmental damage and conflicts among visitors, said Cindi Confer Morris, WDFW wildlife area manager.
“We’ll talk about those issues at the meetings, but we want to spend most of the time looking for solutions,” she said. “We have some ideas, but we really want to hear what the people who use these areas have to say.”
Public conduct rules established for all 39 WDFW wildlife areas include some restrictions on target shooting, such as prohibiting the use of glass, signs, appliances, mattresses, televisions and furniture as targets.
But Confer Morris said problems remain on the Wenas Wildlife Area.
“Some shooters just set up targets wherever they want, and that creates safety issues for hikers, horseback riders and other users,” she said. “We’ve also had wildfires started by sparks from target shooting, and we still have problems with people using inappropriate things as targets.”
Potential solutions include limiting or relocating traditional target shooting areas or restricting target shooting when the risk of wildfires is high, Confer Morris said.
“But we’re open to any and all ideas,” she said. “Our budgets and staff time are very limited, so we need to come up with creative solutions that don’t require a lot of time or money to implement.”