Guam – Joint Guam Program Office Deputy Director Major Darren Alvarez told PNC News today that the Ritidian Wildlife Refuge would not have to close if the Marines proposed firing range complex were located on Andersen AFB’s Northwest field.
Even when the firing range was in use, he said only a small portion of the refugee would be restricted. The rest of the wildlife refuge would remain open.
Saying he wanted to clarify any potential mis-understandings about the impact of the proposed firing range complex on the Ritidian Wildlife Refugee, Major Alvarez pointed to a number of maps which showed, among other things, that most of the Refugee is already closed off to the public, set aside for the preservation of wildlife and native plants and trees. Access to this area is restricted to scientists and archeologists, and other professionals, he said.
Most of the proposed “Surface Danger Zone” [SDZ] over the Refuge covers this already closed, and restricted area.
Alvarez acknowledged that the firing range could be in use for up to 35 weeks every year. But he said only a relatively small, 789 meter stretch, of the public portion of the refuge would be affected by the SDZ.
That stretch would be closed, but only when the 50-caliber machine gun range was in use. It could still remain open, when the other ranges were in use.