POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI)-Due to a safety conflict between target shooters and trail users, the Westside Ranger District of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest has ordered an emergency trail closure for the Lead Draw Trail #109. The closure extends from the trailhead to the confluence of Walker Creek and Crestline Trails until a viable and safe solution can be identified.
“With the number of reports we’ve heard regarding near misses between target shooters and hikers, I could not in good conscience keep the trail open as it currently sits,” said Kim Obele, Westside District Ranger. “It was only a matter of time until we had a tragedy and someone was seriously injured.”
The Lead Draw area is located just outside the city of Pocatello. The area has been home to a historic mining operation and a ski lodge. It is also heavily frequented by local target-shooters.
Forest officials say wayward bullets often whiz over and up the trail, risking the safety of people who are hiking, motor biking, or horseback riding in the area.
“Closing the trail was the most effective and practical option to ensure everyone’s safety as we look for a long-term solution,” said Obele.
Although the trail is closed, the Forest has not closed access to the Lead Draw area.
The forest is encouraging the public to use other areas until a new master plan for the area can be developed. People with concerns should contact the District Ranger’s office at 208-236-7500.