I have been fortunate to have lived to be a ripe old age of 62. My wife and I have raised 4 children (2 LE and 1 Military) and we all love to shoot. Herein lies the problem. Finding a place to shoot in Southern California. I am writing this in hopes that other California residents will relate and possibly provide feedback as well.
It is not unusual for my sons and grandsons and I to venture out on any given weekend with a cooler of sandwiches, a 10 inch stack of BLM, USFS and every conceivable topographic map you can think of just to find a decent and legal shooting and camping spot.
This has become somewhat of a family tradition. Kind of like the old days sending off Dad and sons on a hunt, my wife and daughter in laws (who are also avid shooters) send us off with a loving "don't come back if you don't find a good site". We try not to disappoint but it is becoming increasingly more difficult.
We have been fortunate through the years and have found several hidden treasures. That's the good news. The bad news is that our sacred spots have dwindled from over a dozen to barely three. One of the biggest reasons is that the government that owns the land (mainly BLM) has sold off a huge portion to several environmental groups. In one particular spot, they didn't sell the shooting spot, only the access road to get there.
When we shoot it is usually a 2 or 3 day adventure with nights spent around a campfire. It has gotten to the point where I hardly have the heart to tell my grandsons that soon there may be no spots left. Much of this can be attributed to our west wing government officials but I've always taught my kids to place blame where blame is due. When we get to a beautiful piece of desert land and see someone's old water heater lying on its side shot to hell, it makes one wonder if that might have played a part in the land's closure as well. Before my grandsons ever took a firearms safety course, I had them picking up and stowing brass and taught them to leave it better than you found it.
I am sure there are many others on this great forum who are experiencing the same dilemma. I would like to see more threads from fellow gun enthusiasts here in California and hear their opinions. Perhaps there are others out there who can share their knowledge and experience and possibly solutions.
Some of my fondest memories as a boy were camping with my father in Oklahoma while squirrel and rabbit hunting. Although there are several good indoor and outdoor ranges here in San Diego County, I have always wanted to pass on those same memories to my children and grandchildren.
In the meantime, come Saturday we'll load up the pickup with our maps and sandwiches and head for yet another sacred spot adventure. I have vowed to all that until we run out of options or they tell us to leave will not stop trying.