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Improvements Made to Shooting Ranges on Pennsylvania State Game Lands

HARRISBURG - Benefiting from Growing Greener II monies,

Pennsylvania Game Commission

Pennsylvania Game Commission officials announce that the agency is nearing completion of its first major overhaul of public shooting ranges on State Game Lands, as it seeks to address lead remediation, repairs and safety issues.

“As hunters head off to the range to sight in their firearms for the upcoming seasons, we urge them to make sure that the public shooting range they may be planning to visit still is open,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. “While the agency has been spending more than $200,000 annually to maintain these ranges, vandalism and other examples of misuse of these ranges have required far more investment in upkeep than the agency is able to budget.

“However, thanks to the Rendell Administration and General Assembly providing the Game Commission a portion of the Growing Greener II monies for environmental projects, we are able to address some of the needs of these ranges.”

Through Growing Greener II, the Game Commission has already spent more than $1.7 million on lead remediation and clean up. Safety upgrades have cost $454,000, so far.

The specific services the Game Commission requested and contracted from the National Rifle Association (NRA) are “Range Use and Procedural Evaluations” and “Range Safety and Design Evaluations” at each of the State Game Lands public ranges. The agency has received a written detailed report of findings and recommendations for future operation of these ranges. Several Game Commission staff participated in outdoor shooting range evaluation and operational training conducted by the NRA’s Range Technical Team over the past four years. The agency reviewed documentation and information included in their NRA Range Source Book, including the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Best Management Practices for Outdoor Ranges. This has resulted in the Game Commission’s desire to objectively evaluate and improve upon its existing shooting range setup.

As was announced in Feb. 9, 2005 (See News Release #010-05), the Game Commission temporarily closed four ranges due to safety concerns: SGL 50 in Somerset County; SGL 91 in Luzerne County; SGL 157 in Bucks County; and Indian Rock (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property) in York County.

Roe noted that, over the past three years, the agency has been closing ranges for needed work and then reopening them as soon as possible. Work started in the Northwest Region and then moved across the Commonwealth, and the final projects are being conducted in the Northeast Region.

“In addition to having the NRA make an objective review of safety conditions at each range, we contracted with Metals Treatment Technologies, a leader in the nation among companies providing lead remediation and stabilization services on outdoor shooting ranges,” Roe said. “This contract includes the services of Dick Peddicord and Associates, a nationally-recognized expert in environmental range issues and lead remediation and abatement. We are requesting lead remediation and stabilization of soil materials removed from backstop berms, side berms and range floors at all Game Commission shooting ranges.

“Lead remediation measures are being undertaken to prevent any lead contamination of surface areas and surface and ground waters on State Game Lands. This effort is the largest by any state agency in the country and will result in environmentally clean and safe shooting ranges provided to the general public by the Game Commission.”

As of today, the status of the 30 public shooting ranges on SGLs, by region, are as follows. Where work continues, the expected date for reopening of the range may be delayed due to weather impacts on construction.

NORTHWEST REGION:
- SGL 24, Forest County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 72, Clarion County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 109, Erie County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

SOUTHWEST REGION:
- SGL 42 (Waterford), Westmoreland County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 42 (New Florence), Westmoreland County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 50, Somerset County, has been cleaned, but work continues to address safety concerns. Due to the ongoing work, this range is not expected to be reopened until 2009.

- SGL 51, Fayette County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 108, Cambria County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 179, Greene County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 203, Allegheny County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 223, Greene County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 245, Washington County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 248, Indiana County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION:
- SGL 77, Clearfield County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 176, Centre County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION:
- SGL 230, Cumberland County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

NORTHEAST REGION:
- SGL 58, Columbia County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 91, Luzerne County, has been cleaned. However, safety upgrades have not yet been completed, but the range is expected to be reopened by mid-November.

- SGL 127, Monroe County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 141, Carbon County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 159, Wayne County, a bridge was replaced, and the range has been cleaned. However, safety upgrades have not yet been completed, but the range is expected to be reopened by mid-November.

- SGL 183, Pike County, has been cleaned. However, safety upgrades have not yet been completed, but the range is expected to be reopened by Oct. 22.

- SGL 206, Luzerne County, has been cleaned. However, safety upgrades have not yet been completed, but the range is expected to be reopened by Oct. 23.

- SGL 300, Lackawanna County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

SOUTHEAST REGION:
- SGL 43, Chester County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 106, Berks County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 157, Bucks County, has been cleaned, but work continues to address safety concerns. Due to the ongoing work, this range is not expected to be reopened until 2009.

- SGL 205, Lehigh County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 211, Dauphin County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

- SGL 242, York County, has been cleaned and is open for use.

There are three ranges that the Game Commission has cleaned and closed permanently: SGL 44, in Elk County; SGL 54, in Jefferson County; SGL 285, in Beaver County. Also, the agency cleaned and decommissioned two ranges it previously maintained on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owned property at Conemaugh in Indiana County, and Indian Rock in York County.

Game Commission public shooting ranges are open year-round, from 8 a.m. until sunset, except for Sunday mornings, unless otherwise posted. Sunday range hours are from noon until sunset.

Some ranges, if posted, do provide pistol-shooting stations and shotgun areas. Ranges are used most heavily prior to the bear and deer seasons. Regulations regarding use of ranges are prominently posted at each range. All rules of safety need to be followed, including proper eye and ear protection. Also, someone 18 or older must accompany anyone under the age of 16.

For directions and other information regarding SGL public shooting ranges, please visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), click on “State Game Lands” in the left-hand column of the homepage, and then select “public shooting ranges.”

Facts about the Pennsylvania Game Commission: The Game Commission built Scotia Range, the agency’s premier shooting range on State Game Land 176 in Centre County, using a portion of its Project 500 grant monies. Project 500, enacted in the 1970s, was the last time the agency’ received state bond monies prior to the Rendell Administration’s Growing Greener II initiative.

Media Contact: Jerry Feaser (717)705-6541 or PGCNews@state.pa.us

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