County council voted to end access to the pit. aranoid: http://heraldnet.com/article/201002...gun.enthusiasts.from.former.Sultan.gravel.pit County Council shoos gun enthusiasts from former Sultan gravel pit By Andy Rathbun EVERETT Target shooters need to find a new place to go. That was the message from the Snohomish County Council on Wednesday after the group voted 3-0 to declare a gravel pit outside Sultan a no-shooting area. After two hours of public testimony, the council supported a group of neighbors who wanted the pit closed, disappointing dozens of target shooters. I love these issues where we get to make everyone happy, Councilman Dave Somers said wryly. Somers joined Councilmen John Koster and Dave Gossett in voting to close the shooting area. Councilmen Mike Cooper and Brian Sullivan were absent from the hearing. The pit, located at the end of 116th Street SE, became a hot-button issue last spring. The state Department of Natural Resources began directing target shooters to the spot, which is surrounded by forested walls of earth. Word spread among gun owners. The DNR told shooters to go to the gravel pit prior to its closing of access to the Reiter Foothills. Before long, residents living near the pit were complaining of gunfire and occasional explosions. Some no longer felt safe in their own back yards. Scott Riefler, a gun owner living near the pit, was among those who wanted it closed. Simply stated, were being shot at, he told the council. Neighbors urged the council to declare it a no-shooting area. They werent alone. DNR officials gave the site a closer inspection before the meeting and supported the change. They determined homeowners were at risk from stray bullets. Target shooters defended the pit, however, saying it was safe. They said they maintained the spot, keeping it clean of garbage and telling new visitors to use correct gun practices. I do believe this pit is a safe place to shoot, said Lance Axtell, a Monroe resident. Target shooters said without the pit, they will have nowhere to go. That led Councilman Koster to ask DNR officials if they could maintain the site until the county opens a new gun range. Bill Wallace, northwest region manager for the DNR, said staffing issues will make that impossible. To be frank with you, he said, we dont have the resources to manage it now. More than 60 people attended the hearing. While the crowd disagreed on many points the distance bullets will travel, the legality of shooting at the pit most agreed target shooters need to be given a new range. Efforts are under way to do just that. The county plans to take control of 186 acres from the DNR farther north on Sultan Basin Road, near Olney Creek. The county could get that land by the end of the year, although a timeline for developing a gun range hasnt been determined. Until a new range opens, target shooters such as Jim Heald will be left with one big question. Where do I go now? he asked.