DNR seeks comment on shooting range

MARQUETTE — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is seeking public comment on a draft environmental assessment for development of a proposed DNR shooting range in Richmond Township.

The draft environmental assessment evaluates the variety of options considered and impacts to natural resources. Public comments will be accepted for a 30-day period, which ends Nov. 20.

The DNR has asked that the Fish and Wildlife Service issue a modification to a statewide shooting range grant to approve construction of an outdoor shooting range in Marquette County.

The proposed shooting range project will consist of:

≤ An access drive, parking and accessible pathways that connect all range facilities.

≤ Installation of two rustic vault toilets.

≤ Shooting structures for safety, sound abatement and weather protection.

≤ Earthwork activity to create down-range berms (with ricochet baffles), side berms and surface water management.

≤ Educational and interpretive signage.

The purpose of the project is to develop a new outdoor public range on property leased by the DNR from Cleveland Cliffs. The range site is in Richmond Township and is accessible from the Goose Lake Access Road.

Developing this new range will enable the DNR and Cliffs to close a popular, informal target shooting location that is not suitable for public use. The new range will meet or exceed Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, provide hunters the opportunity to increase firearm proficiency and safety, and allow recreational shooters to practice their sport in a safe, accommodating area that expands use potential beyond the summer months, the DNR said.

The purpose of the environmental assessment document is to look at the feasibility and potential for environmental consequences associated with the alternatives considered. The assessment was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act that applies to the actions of all federal agencies. This project is proposed by the DNR for funding through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, administered by the USFWS.

The draft environmental assessment is available on the DNR website at bit.ly/3aVY9XW.

Additional information on funding and design of the range may be obtained from Lori Burford, DNR shooting range specialist, at 989-600-9114.

Written comments or questions may be sent to Burford via email at BurfordL@michigan.gov. Comments should be received no later than Nov. 20.

Comments will be provided to the USFWS, which will then decide on whether to approve the environmental assessment and modification request. If approved, the DNR anticipates project construction could begin late this fall.

The DNR’s Western Upper Peninsula Citizens’ Advisory Council will address the shooting range as well as other topics when it meets from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Marquette Township Community Center, 1000 Commerce Drive.

For more information on the DNR’s shooting ranges, visit Michigan.gov/ShootingRanges.


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