The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Division will continue to keep the Pillager gravel pit in Cass County closed to unauthorized shooting and target practice. The site, which is located in the Pillsbury State Forest about 15 miles northwest of Brainerd, was closed to public use during a recent crushing and pit rehabilitation project.
The Forestry Division has several concerns regarding unauthorized use at this site. The site is not managed or designated as a shooting range, so there are no safety measures in place to protect the other recreational users. In addition, the used lead shot and targets are a source of pollution and contaminate the gravel material that is spread on forest roads throughout the Pillsbury State Forest. This is not the only site being evaluated for potential pollution and contamination issues. Authorized ranges on state land are also being reviewed.
“We need to consider the safety and environmental aspects of this use as we determine the future potential of this site,” said Paul Lundgren, Backus area forest supervisor. “We will continue to work toward addressing these issues.”
Alternative managed shooting ranges exist in the area. Additional information is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/shooting_ranges/index.html.
The DNR reminds shooters to be safe and respectful of public and private property, and to know where they are at all times. Individuals who choose to shoot recreationally on public lands must do so in an area that allows this activity, and must be sure of their target and what is beyond it. People who choose to shoot in an area that is new to them, should get to know it first, identifying the locations of campgrounds, trails and private property.
Firearms must be unloaded and cased while in or within 200 feet of a forest recreation area (e.g., campground, day-use area, parking area).
For more information on the project, contact the Backus area forestry office at 218-947-3232.