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Near-misses from target shooters cause officials to issue emergency trail closure

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The following is a news release from the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.

POCATELLO — Due to rising safety concerns, effective immediately, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Westside Ranger District is implementing an emergency trail closure for the Lead Draw Trail #109, from the Lead Draw trailhead to the confluence of Walker Creek and Crestline Trails. The closure will remain in effect until a viable and safe solution can be identified.

“With the number of reports we’ve heard regarding near-misses between target shooters and hikers, I could not in good conscience keep the trail open as it currently sits,” said Kim Obele, Westside District Ranger. “It was only a matter of time until we had a tragedy and someone was seriously injured.”

Managed by the US Forest Service, the Lead Draw area is located just outside Pocatello. It’s a unique area with a colorful and rich history serving as a home to a historic mining operation and later a ski lodge. As the name would suggest, Lead Draw is heavily frequented by local target shooters.

Despite several educational campaigns, wayward bullets whiz over and up the trail, risking the safety of individuals hiking, motorbiking or horseback riding in the area.

“Closing the trail was the most effective and practical option to ensure everyone’s safety as we look for a long-term solution,” said Obele.

Although the trail itself is closed, access to the Lead Draw area will not change. Forest managers are urging the public to explore other trail opportunities nearby such as the Crestline and Walker Creek Trails, as they work collaboratively with the community to develop a master plan for the area.

For questions, comments or to get involved, please contact Sheila Larsen or Robert Harris at the Westside Ranger District at (208) 236-7500 or Sheila.larsen@usda.gov or robert.e.harris@usda.gov.

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