The agency announced Friday that a proposed resource management plan amendment would allow target shooting on 5,295 acres (2,143 hectares) of the monument and be banned on the monument’s remaining 480,496 acres (194,450 hectares).
A BLM spokesperson said target shooting still is allowed on other bureau-managed lands in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The Sonoran Desert National Monument was established in 2001.
(Photo by Epics/Getty Images)
Critics have argued that target shooting threatens cultural and natural resources the monument was designated to protect and has damaged objects such as saguaro cactus and Native American petroglyphs.
A notice announcing the beginning of a 60-day public comment period on the proposed target shooting closure was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Monday.
The BLM, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states.