Shooting on Forest

Time to shut down Pat Mullen Cinder Pit

“Unregulated overuse of the Pat Mullen area near Sky Hi Retreat by shooters for well over two decades has left it in a toxic state.

“A June 2017 Risk Assessment, commissioned by the Forest Service, revealed elevated levels of lead and arsenic inside the Pat Mullen Cinder Pit. In fact, lead concentrations were as high as 32 times the ADEQ acceptable residential level.

“The Risk Assessment recommended cleanup of the contamination and closure of the pit to OHVs which stir up lead-laden dust, yet the Forest Service has done nothing to implement those specific recommendations” (Tom Hollender, OP ED. White Mountain Independent, President of the White Mountain Conservation League).

Parents, unaware of the potential danger, bring their children to the cinder pit for sledding and winter fun. 

“This lead and arsenic contaminated area has now-become a danger to public health and safety, and a concern to the many outdoor recreationists, especially-children, who use it throughout the year. Also, these contaminants can potentially leach into water tables and-wells of nearby communities, potentially poisoning people and the area’s wildlife. The Sky Hi Retreat-subdivision is just one-quarter mile away and their community wells are less than a half mile downstream-from the Pat Mullen Cinder Pit. Additionally, excess noise, trash, resource damage, and safety issues would-also be addressed by closing this “wildcat” shooting area.”

Express opinions to Ed Collins, District Ranger for the Lakeside RD, 928-368-2101 ( and Steve Best, Forest Supervisor, Apache-Sitgreaves NF, (928-333-6280),

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White Mountain Conservation League
Box 595
Pinetop, Arizona 85935
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