Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Tuesday

June 5, 2013

DNR and residents to discuss gun range

TRAVERSE CITY — “Nonstop shooting.”

That’s how Beate Raffaele described noise that thunders from makeshift shooting ranges on public land near her home on Hoosier Valley Road 10 miles or so south of Traverse City.

She hears gunfire from rifles, pistols and semi-automatic weapons during the day and into the night. Sometimes gunshots are punctuated by loud booms from exploding targets. It goes beyond noise — even the traffic signs along the wooded dirt road far from the ranges are riddled with bullet holes, and she worries about her safety if she walks outside.

“I don’t think people who live on Hoosier Valley Road should be exposed to this shooting all the time,” Raffaele said. “I (used to) take medicine so I can sleep. I shouldn’t have to do that.”

Noise and bullets flying from the informal shooting ranges on state land have long bothered many Hoosier Valley, Blair Town Hall and Vance roads homeowners, as well as those who live in Lamar Estates. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans a public meeting Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Blair Township Hall to hear from residents who live near the ranges, as well as those who use the ranges for target practice.

“We’re hearing a number of concerns,” said Bill O’Neill, chief of the DNR’s forest resource division. “They range from locals on Hoosier Valley Road who say it’s not safe; it affects the quality of life; and is an intrusion on residential life. We’re also hearing from folks on the shooting range that it’s a source of legal recreation.”

Dave Cook, a gunsmith and gun shop owner, has lived on Hoosier Valley Road for 16 years and notes the range has been there close to 53 years -- longer than any of his neighbors. It’s one of the few ranges in the region Cook said it has become busier over the years. Semi-automatic weapons’ fire, especially in the evening and after dark, makes it impossible for people to enjoy the night.

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