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Dirty Truth About Berretta Road

April 24, 2012, 6:06 PM by Derek Olson

Dirty Truth About Berretta Road
BLACK HILLS, SD -

Berretta Road is a popular place to take in some target practice in the Black Hills.  But some have been using it as a dumping ground.

Shooting guns off of Berretta Road is perfectly legal.  But the trail of spent shell casings, trash and downed trees that some shooters leave behind is a different story.

"We also allow target shooting back here, and that's our problem today and it's been that problem for about 15 years now," U.S. Forest Service Resource Staff Officer Dave Slepnikoff said.

The land around the forest road is strewn with litter and debris, much of which is related to target shooting, all of which is illegal.

"The bigger stuff, of course, they use it for target shooting.  They like to see flat screen TVs blow up when they hit the screen," Slepnikoff said.

"I was unfamiliar, until I just spoke with the park ranger, about leaving the targets out here, though.  That was good information to find out about," shooter Gordon Ofstad said.

Leaving spent casings on the ground is a $100 fine.  Dumping trash, including shot up targets, is a $250 offense.

But that's not the only thing officials are worried about.  Shooters are taking out live trees.

"They just blast away with shotguns and machine guns, anything that's got a lot of ammunition, and they basically cut the tree in half and it's worthless then," Slepnikoff said.

"Shooting up the trees, I find that kind of unnecessary.  You have plenty of places to set up targets.  So I'm not sure why people would want to shoot up the trees around here," Ofstad said.

People caught shooting trees get a $500 fine.  But instead of writing tickets, Slepnikoff would rather that shooters start taking better care of the forest.

"This is yours and my land, everybody's land, and we basically need to protect it because if you don't protect it, it gets closed," Slepnikoff said.

"Just do your part when you're out here.  Make sure to pick up the trash and clean up after yourself," Ofstad said.

The Forest Service is asking if people see these things happening, take down license plate numbers or any other information and report it.

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