Recreational shooting is prohibited on the Pole Mountain unit until Sept. 10.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos says the restrictions go into effect March 31 each year in order to protect visitors from stray bullets on 55,000 acres of National Forest between Laramie and Cheyenne.

“There’s too many people in a small area to be able to shoot safely,” says Voos.

Not everyone is banned from discharging firearms. Hunters with a Wyoming hunting license going after the species for which the license was issued, including spring turkey hunters, are exempted.

The restrictions that went into effect Thursday are an annual renewal of a U.S. Forest Service special order that has been around since the late 1990s. The agency says the Pole Mountain unit sees a lot of visitors, and the shooting prohibition is designed to keep people safe.

The Forest Service plans to increase its law enforcement presence as the restrictions take effect.

“Our law enforcement has some flexibility with what they can do,” says Voos. “Usually it’s a citation that involves some sort of fee.”

Pole Mountain roads remain temporarily closed due to wet conditions and illegal off-road travel. The agency says roads will reopen this spring when conditions improve.

For more information, call the Laramie Ranger District Office at 745-2300.