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Shooting Range

During the planning process for the Knik River Public Use Area (KRPUA), members of Butte Area Residents Civic Organization were united in their opposition to locating a shooting range within earshot of residents in an area where the noise from gun fire disturbs waterfowl,  moose calving areas and recreational users.

These residents were ignored, as were individuals and members of organizations who recognized the importance of an area which was recommended for Critical Habitat status in the Susitna Area Plan of 1984. Knik River Watershed Group (KRWG) lists several scientific studies that have advised protection for this valuable area since the 1980s.

But DNR decided that there will be a shooting range, claiming that, “The specific location for the development of this range was vetted, noticed, and reviewed as part of the KRPUA management planning process, and the management plan went into effect on September 25, 2008.” Not true. The range was neither properly vetted nor properly noticed. No alternative locations were proposed.

UPDATE JULY 14, 2010: DNR Issues Stay of Administrative Decision during Adjudication of Appeal.

UPDATE JULY 4, 2010: DNR Issues Administrative Decision to build range.

Read the BARCO Appeal to the Commissioner

UPDATE AUGUST 28,2009: DNR Issues Proposed Consistency Determination.
Read the rationalization by the reviewer/applicant for allowing the shooting range to be built.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Department of Environmental Conservation and US Environmental Protection Agency did not comment on habitat issues. Contamination has been ongoing on the adjoining user-created site. Ask these agencies to do what it takes in order to protect our fish, waterfowl and wildlife  habitat, along with our waters,  from incompatible disturbance and further lead contamination.

Mystery explained by DNR, but invites more questions : According to DNR, “The easement site was cleared of trees under a commercial wood cutting permit from the Division of Forestry. Under the forest practices act, tree cutting activities need to occur prior to April 15th to accommodate migratory bird nesting.  The reason DNR couldn’t wait is that the “Friends of the National Rifle Association” wanted to have their rifle range this year for the $20,000 they paid to DNR. 

Why was the first order of business in the KRPUA  not to provide dumpsters, trash receptacles, sanitary facilities, educational signs and on-the-ground law enforcement but to start an unsupervised rifle range in the forest that is known to be prime habitat for Dall sheep, is a popular sheep viewing and hunting area with lakes and wetlands below. This area has been used for quiet recreation for over 50 years.

Small Trees? The trail to left of this user created shooting alley leads to freshly logged area.
This is  a typical birch forest and important habitat in the high-value vegetated uplands of the Mat-Su Coastal Zone just above the Jim Creek lakes and wetlands.


Another Deception by DNR:  “Small trees will be removed/chipped, and natural topography will be utilized and dug up to create the backstop berm and the sidestop berms.”

SheepFromMaudRdExt2 001
SheepFromMaudRdExt 001

Valuable forested upland Dall sheep habitat up-hill near the clear-cut Maud Road Extension Rifle Range site. Wildlife has to travel through these forests to get to get to the wetlands and lakes below.

 More Photos and slide show of contamination and runoff on and from the user-created shooting area amidst the indescribeable beauty of the Knik River Valley where swans had just arrived; some to nest and some to migrate.

cutting_on_site_4_26_09 3

Sequence of Events

August 28, 2009 Proposed Consistency Determination by David Griffin, Alaska Department of Natural Resources:
Read comment by Elizabeth Friedman whose validity were challenged by David Griffin:   public comments by L.F.

May 6, 2009: Public Comments by Butte Area Residents Civic Organization (comments are circulated and approved by BARCO membership prior to submittal)

Anonymous employee of Anonymous agency letter to David Griffin, DNR

April 3, 2009: Application for Coastal Consistency and Site Easement by David Griffin, Alaska Department of Natural  http://www.buttealaska.org/Riflerange/ReviewPackageADL230693.pdf (4.92 MB)
For all public comments and reviews, request copies from David.Griffin@alaska.gov

Read the “Dear Maud Road Neighbor” Flyer distributed by area residents showing the location in relationship to lakes, wetlands and private properties..
Concerned residents of the Maud Road area distributed this flier encouraging neighbors to make comments to DNR to halt this project which is incompatible with the way of life of residents, quiet users of surrounding land and waters, and with wildlife and habitat. Includes links to contacts, documents and photo album.

In a matter of 3 days, a resident gathered more than 200 signatures, mostly signed by residents of the Maud Road area and recreational users.

See what other members of the community say about this project

1) Mat-Su Borough:
   a) your assembly person for Butte, Warren Keogh, warrenkeogh.district1@gmail.com
 and in other districts.  Mat-Su Borough Assembly on this.

Media Coverage on Proposed Maud Road Rifle Range: (Media files copyright sources as listed)

“Two Small Gun Ranges Considered for Mat-Su, Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, February 17, 2009
“Plan for city-run shooting range advances,” Rindi White, Anchorage Daily Newes, April 21, 2009
“Shooting Range Draws Fire From Local Residents,” Todd Disher, The Frontiersman, April 30, 2009
“Sparks Fly Over Butte Shooting Range,” Lori Tipton, KTUU Channel 2, May 13, 2009
“Plan Would Ruin Pristine Area” Letter to Editor, Frontiersman, May 4, 2009.
“APRN Ellen Lockyer, Maud Road Shooting Range, May 19, 2009, copyrighted Audio File
“Palmer Locals Feud Over Possible Gun Range.” KTVA Channel 11, August 4, 2009
“Butte Residents Up In Arms Over Proposed Firing Range.” KTVA Channel 11, August 5, 2009