Now the State Game Land range SGL 43 is closed to further notice.
Along with SGL 106 and SGL 157.
Does anyone know what is really going on?
Steve in PA
Probably doing lead clean up.
This was in our local Sunday paper about one local range that has been closed for several years. I'm sure it applies to other ranges that have been closed for a while, or are currently being closed.
Aiming to fix the ranges
By Tom Venesky firstname.lastname@example.org
BEAR CREEK TOWNSHIP – The benches are gone and the steel rests are rusted and weather-beaten. Brass casings of spent shells litter the ground, tarnished by the years. Tall grass and brush cover most of the earthen backstops.
That’s the state of the public shooting range on State Game Lands 91, but it won’t stay that way for long.
This summer the Pennsylvania Game Commission will refurbish the range and reopen it in October.
The range closed in 2005 due to downrange safety issues and high amounts of lead that had accumulated in the backstops since the facility opened in the early 1970s. Although there are seven other ranges in the northeast, the closure of the SGL 91 facility forced hunters and shooters from the Wyoming Valley to drive farther to find a safe place to shoot.
Jay Delaney, who serves as the PGC commissioner of the northeast region, said the range is vital because it is close to a population base extending from Wilkes-Barre to Moosic. With the high price of gas, Delaney said, many people can’t drive the extra distance to another range and might shoot in places that are unsafe and off-limits.
“We need to give our youth hunters and sportsmen safe places to shoot,” he said. “These ranges are a valuable asset.”
That’s why the agency will upgrade all eight ranges in the region. Although they will be closed for most of the summer, the facilities should be open in time for shooters to get their firearms ready for hunting season.
Pete Sussenbach, PGC land management supervisor for the northeast region, said the first step of the process is lead remediation. At the SGL 91 range, that work will begin during the first week of July as long as conditions are dry. A private company will mix the backstop soil with EcoBond, a non-toxic phosphate compound that reacts with the lead and prohibits it from leaching. Samples will be tested and if the lead levels are acceptable, the backstops will be rebuilt. In the case of the SGL 91 range, the backstops will be raised to 25 feet.
“It will take about a week to treat the lead in the soil,” Sussenbach said. “Our goal is to have every range in this region open by mid-October.”
The game commission will spend several million dollars from the Growing Greener II fund to refurbish ranges throughout the state. It will cost approximately $30,000 to remediate the lead at the SGL 91 range; another $50,000 will be spent on safety upgrades.
At SGL 91, those upgrades include improved backstops and side berms and covered shooting stations and baffles to prevent shooters from raising their muzzles too high.
The range will have 10 100-yard stations and two 25-yard stations.
Delaney acknowledged the PGC is tackling the statewide project despite facing bleak financial conditions. But he said the importance of providing a safe shooting environment is something the entire board and the agency’s executive director, Carl Roe, all support.
“These ranges give sportsmen a safe place to shoot where they know they’re not bothering anyone with the noise,” Delaney said. “Ranges ranked high on the list when it comes to issues sportsmen care about. If you come up to the one on (State Game Lands) 91 in the fall, you’d have to wait in line to shoot.”
About 15 minutes away from SGL 91, the range on State Game Lands 127 on the border of Lackawanna and Monroe counties remains open, but barely.
Vandalism is taking a toll on the facility, forcing PGC Food and Cover crews to spend an enormous amount of time repairing and cleaning up the site. Signs are shot, targets and frames are blasted away by shotguns and litter covers the ground.
Although the ranges are paid for and maintained primarily by funds spent by hunters to buy licenses, Sussenbach said they are open to everyone. With that in mind, he added the damage caused to the 127 range is done primarily by non-hunters.
“Our guys go there once a week and they basically have to rebuild everything,” Sussenbach said. “As soon as we get these ranges rebuilt, our Wildlife Conservation Officers will spend a lot of time patrolling and protecting our investment.”
“The damage at 127 really caused us to question if we want to keep it open,” Delaney added.
There is talk of relocating the range to the southern end of SGL 127 along state Route 423, where it will be easier to patrol, but no decision has been made.
Sussenbach said the ranges are important because they tie into the agency’s message of hunting ethics. It’s imperative for hunters to be proficient with their firearms to make a clean kill, he said, and the ranges give them a place to improve that skill.
“There is an inherent obligation to make sure hunters are comfortable with their firearms,” Sussenbach said. “One of our goals as hunters is that one true shot, and the ranges are a part of that.”
Problems and solutions facing ranges on State Game Lands 91 and 127
•lead remediation scheduled for July 9-15 at an estimated cost of $30,000
•safety upgrades include improved backstop and side berms, covered shooting station and baffles. Estimated cost - $50,000
•range should open in late October or early November
•range has 10 100-yard stations and two 25-yard stations
•range is currently open with two 50-yard stations, seven 100-yard stations and two 200-yard stations; also a 25- and 50-yard pistol range
•lead remediation scheduled for July 16-22 at an estimated cost of $30,000
•backstops and side berms will be upgraded; pistol range will be reoriented to be parallel with the rifle range; estimated cost - $35,000
•range should reopen in late September
Open from 8 a.m. to sunset, except Sunday morning
Anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older
Shot shells are prohibited, but slugs are allowed
Yeah, its frustrating though.
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