Hathaway Pines, CA – Stanislaus National Forest is proposing permanent limitations on target shooting at Candy Rock Quarry near Hathaway Pines, California. Stanislaus Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski, announced the Forest Service intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIR).
Supervisor Skalski said, “Public participation is important at numerous points during this analysis. At this time, the Forest Service seeks information, comments and assistance from federal, state, and local agencies and individuals or organizations that may be interested in or affected by the proposed action.”
Candy Rock Quarry is in the Calaveras Ranger District accessed by Forest Roads 4N73Y and 4N80Y from Highway 4. The nearest private residential properties are one-third of a mile from the quarry. Target shooting at the site since the 1960’s predates nearby residential lots.
Sheriff’s Department and Forest Service law enforcement have received several noise complaints over the past three years. They also received complaints about the saftey of shooting from the roadway and in the quarry, which have increased substantially since 2009.
A public meeting in October 2009 resulted in actions to increase safety in the area and reduce noise. Since implementation residents claim the shooting activity is louder and more persistent than in previous years. They insist the quarry be closed to target shooting due to the safety hazard and noise disturbance.
The Calaveras Ranger District sought advice from National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA Range Technical Team found that if target shooters follow accepted safety rules and shoot into the backstop, Candy Rock Quarry should be a safe area for recreational target shooting.
A report by the Center for Collaborative Policy (CCP), concluded that feelings of community alienation, emotional distress and declining health resulted from the shooting activity at the quarry.
The purpose of this new proposal is to determine if recreational target shooting is an appropriate activity at Candy Rock Quarry in the context of safety, public health, applicable law, regulation and policy. If target shooting is found to be appropriate, then they will determine the conditions under which shooting may continue. The tentative notice states, among other things, hours for target shooting be set to 10 am to 6 pm Monday-Friday; 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday; and closed on Sundays. It also proposes to prohibit the use of firearms larger than 0.50 caliber and prohibit trap and skeet shooting. It does provide that the Forest Road 4N73Y be opened to allow year round access instead of from April 15 to December 15.
In addition to the Proposed Action, the EIS will evaluate the required No Action alternative and may consider other alternatives. The Forest Service will hold a public meeting in March 2012. A draft EIR is expected in Fall 2012 and the final is expected in Spring 2013.
The Quarry is presently used as a storage site for road surfacing ore deposited between 1986 and 1988 during the construction of the North Fork Stanislaus River Hydroelectric Project. The quarry produced an ornamental rhyolitic rock called “candy rock”.