BY MATT TROUTMAN
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Don't expect state officials to make a decision on the future of controversial gun ranges along Hoosier Valley Road anytime soon.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is sorting through hours of public input from a heated meeting held in Blair Township Hall last week on the makeshift state-run shooting ranges. The three ranges are increasing popular with gun enthusiasts but also a growing headache for nearby property owners, who complain about noise and safety.
Dennis Nezich, field coordinator in the DNR's Marquette office, said his staff will meet in a week or two to discuss options, but a final decision on what to do about the gun ranges won't be made until later.
"We have every option from leaving it as it is to moving it, and everything in between," he said.
Property owners raised their concerns at the meeting, but several gun enthusiasts said the state land was used for shooting long before the neighborhood built up around it and there are few other free local options for shooting.
Hoosier Valley Road resident and NRA member Sara Gindin said her stance against keeping the shooting ranges along Hoosier Valley Road was not about gun rights.
"We're not taking away guns," she said. "All we're asking them to do is move the range so they can have those rights somewhere else. We just want them moved so we can have some peace and quiet in our backyard."
A draft of potential restrictions to target shooting at the ranges was distributed at the meeting, including designated hours. Nezich said it was likely some proposed restrictions would be modified based on the public comments.
"For example, if shooting were to continue out there, then perhaps (there would be restrictions to) the number of cartridges in the chamber of the firearm," he said.