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Man says gun range a hazard

ASHLAND - One man is trying to shut down the police shooting range situatedabove Lithia Park in the Rogue River National Forest.

Daniel Goan, 25, said at a press conference Monday that the 3-acre range,only a quarter mile from homes on Granite Street, is unsafe because of itslocation, which is leased from the U.S. Forest Service.

Goan said he became aware of the problem after being asked to leave thearea two weeks ago and being told that if he returned he would be arrestedfor criminal trespass. Goan alleged that the city does not have the rightto exclusive use of the area under forest service rules, and the land shouldbe open to the public. He also said the city lacks a certificate of insurancethat is supposed to be on file with the Forest Service.

If it (the city's lease on the land) is not revoked or terminatedI will seek a court injunction, Goan said. Even if they complywith everything, it's still not safe. Cyclists use the (Forest Service)road day and night. So do dog walkers, and kids are playing in the creek.

City Administrator Brian Almquist said the range and the 14,000-acrewatershed above it are off-limits to the public to protect city water qualityand to prevent fires.

He's way off base of his allegation he can go anywhere on forestland, Almquist said. That area is a closed area. It is a protectedarea.

Almquist said that although the range is insured through the city, thecertificate on file with the Forest Service had lapsed. He said the cityis addressing that before any more shooting occurs.

And although Almquist said he believes the area is safe, the city isconsidering posting better warning signs and possibly moving the range toan area used by the Ashland Gun Club on Emigrant Creek Road.

In my 27 years, there has never been a complaint and no one hasever been injured, Almquist said. But we are looking at if weshould move the range.

Acting Police Chief Mel Clements said the number of people going intothe restricted area has increased over the years as Lithia Park's upperend has been improved.