MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has signed a lease agreement, clearing the way for construction of an $800,000 public shooting range in Richmond Township.
The range will be located west of Marquette, off M-35, along the Goose Lake Access Road, on 25 acres of property owned by the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. used previously for timber and forest management.
“We are thrilled this vital step of the process is completed. We are eager to develop the very first DNR-managed public shooting range in the Upper Peninsula,” said Stacy Welling Haughey, DNR Upper Peninsula regional deputy.
The firing range will meet National Rifle Association and Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines and offer a safe, accessible shooting opportunity for residents and visitors in Marquette County.
In addition, the range will employ state-of-the-art sound control measures and environmental containment features.
“I am appreciative of all of the people who have contributed to this planning process,” said Lori Burford, DNR shooting range specialist.
“In particular, Richmond Township has provided amazing support. Now, all that remains are a few tweaks to design this fall, construction bidding this winter, and finally, completing construction during the summer of 2021.”
Funding for the range is being provided through a federal grant administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and supplemented by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
“We are so pleased that the DNR has a signed agreement in place,” said Scott Mills, Richmond Township supervisor. “The range will benefit many townships, not just Richmond.”
In February 2019, Sands Township approved a use permit for development and operation of the DNR shooting range on another property.
However, the DNR decided to instead pursue this new opportunity to site the range in Richmond Township after being unable to meet restrictive conditions contained within the permit from Sands Township.
Mike Holsinger, section manager for facilities and operation services in the DNR’s Finance and Operations Division, said the agency is “really looking forward to getting started” on constructing the range.
“We can get some environmental studies and some engineering done before the snow flies,” Holsinger said. “This is going to be a great thing.”
For more than a decade, DNR staffers have been working with local units of government, residents and non-governmental partners to consider over a dozen potential shooting range locations in Marquette County.
“We hope to accomplish some surface work yet this fall and complete the majority of the clean up next spring and summer,” Haughey said.
DNR plans for a range in the area date back to 1993. Recent site location development began in May 2013.
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