DNR moving to build shooting range in Marquette

Katrice Perkins/Daily Mining Gazette The Western Upper Peninsula Citizens Advisory Council members listen to staff reports at the meeting on Jan 18.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is getting closer to bringing a shooting range to the Upper Peninsula.

At the Western Upper Peninsula Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) meeting on Thursday evening, U.P. regional coordinator, Stacy Haughey, gave an update on the shooting range, that is expected to be opened in Marquette County.

Haughey says the department first thought of having a shooting range in 1993.

“The staff is really excited, especially staff that have been here since 1993 to actually see us getting closer,” said Haughey.

The site for the range will be at the entrance of a pit, which sits on private property that has been trespassed on for years, so the DNR held discussions with the owner about use of the land. The next step was to talk to another government agency.

“After conversations with a private owner, where there has been shooting on there property for 20 years, we started negotiating with the road commission,” said Haughey.  

Haughey said if one was to go to the property, they would see the shells, the targets they’re using, and garbage they’ve left behind.

“It’s been an issue for a long time so we’re hoping to make this a safer place for people to go,” said Haughey. “There isn’t a public place for them to go to so this would provide access.”

The project is still in the beginning phase of planning, gaining access and ordinance.

“We still have some hurdles, but we’re getting closer with each phase and each step,” said Haughey. “We hope that all of the residents would enjoy this state-of-the-art range when we get it to the finish line.”

The next step includes rezoning the site, if supported by the county planning commission and approved by the Sands Township Board.

In December the project was recommended for funding by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. They are said to receive $300,000 for the project.

Haughey said their goal is to start construction in 2019 after all approvals, and once the money, has been received.

The CAC held a public meeting a year ago to talk about whether there was an interest in the range from the public. They hope to hold meetings again after zoning approvals, to receive design input.

“We had a lot of support,” said Haughey. “We had people vote for possible locations. We would like to have those meetings again once we get a little further down in the process.”