JEROME, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Jerome County Commissioners held a meeting on Monday to sign a letter to the Idaho Department of Lands which would start the process for restricting shooting along the canyon rim.
Commissioner Cathy Roemer said the meeting drew about 20 citizens who asked questions about the board's action.
Roemer said some volunteered to clean up some of the trash in the area over the year, addressing one of the board's concerns.
The commissioners did end up signing the letter to send to the Idaho Department of Lands. Roemer said if the department responds positively to the letter the board will likely look to create safe zones in the park where shooting would not be allowed.
Roemer said since the media coverage of the discussion many people have reached out saying they did support safe zones.
She said she's not sure of a timeline for moving forward with the ordinance. It depends on how the Idaho Department of Lands responds to the letter.
Updated from original 11/30/17:
Trevor Christopherson does not shoot on the north rim of the Snake River Canyon often, but on Thursday he had to practice.
“I'm just getting ready to go elk hunting,” he said. “So I needed to shoot my rifle real quick.”
He said he usually shoots on private land, and he only comes here once or twice a year. So he won't be affected as much as other shooters after the Jerome County Commissioners meet next week.
The board of commissioners plans on signing a letter on Monday that would ask the Idaho Department of Lands to put a restriction on shooting in that area.
“It has become more of shooting unwanted household material with unsafe bullet travel all over the canyon rim,” the letter states.
Commissioner Cathy Roemer said it’s not just the danger. She said the land there is a mess.
“They don't pick up their shells,” she said. “They shoot pumpkins to pieces. They shoot household appliances to pieces, and that needs to stop.”
Roemer said she’s willing to work out a solution that would work for everyone, including a partial-use ordinance that would split parts of the park to shooting and nonshooting.
“I covet public input on every matter, but especially this matter,” she said. “I believe in our second amendment rights, and taking those away from people or their ability to use their firearms is not something I take lightly.”
Heather Tiel-Nelson with the Bureau of Land Management said Jerome County has the ability to create a no-shooting ordinance themselves. In the master plan that was drafted back when the county leased the land, they included a no-shooting ordinance.
That doesn’t mean they planned on putting one in, but they have the ability if they want to, Tiel-Nelson said.
Christopherson said based on the excessive trash, the county may have no choice but to make a new rule.
“They (the BLM) come out and clean up this place every year, and every year it gets to be like this again,” he said. “So maybe we're not learning our lessons, and maybe we should be punished for it a little bit.”
Before they pass an ordinance, Roemer said the board would want to talk with the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office since they would take on the burden of patrol for the area.
Roemer said she’s happy to hear public comment up to and at the meeting, which will be Monday at 9 a.m. at the commissioner office.