Menomonie Public Shooting Range
The Menomonie Rifle and Pistol Club (MR&P) has, for the last 30+ years partnered with Dunn County’s facilities to operate and maintain the Menomonie Public Shooting Range. Over the years, this partnership has evolved and in the last several years, due to budget cuts, the range is no longer funded by the County nor is any county equipment or labor supplied to maintain the range. The county does still contract out the garbage pickup and pumping the septic once a year. The club now performs all operation and maintenance to include snow removal, grass cutting, equipment maintenance, repairs, improvements, and staffing. In fact, the Club had to purchase the equipment now used at the range in order to perform those tasks. For many years, the only money used to maintain and improve the range was acquired from user donations, grants, or private donations. Two years ago, the county turned the responsibility of financial recordkeeping and bill paying to the club. Now the club keeps a separate bank account for the range expenses. Neither the club nor any of its members receives any form of compensation from this account.
There is a 4 station dedicated pistol area that has movable target stands. The stands can be positioned from 5 to 13 yards. All 4 stations are handicapped accessible and have clear Plexiglas dividers between them to control shell cases from interfering with other shooters. Each station has a rubber coated bench to protect firearms.
There are 9 rifle benches for the 25-100 yard area. 7 of the benches have a left and right side and adjustable seat. During peak times, both the left and right sides can be used simultaneously. The other 2 benches are single benches for handicapped access.
The range also includes 4 firing points (1 which is handicapped accessible) for 200 shooting. These are the same makeup as the 25-100 benches.
Currently, there 2 firing points for 300 yards. Again, it is a shared bench as in the 25-100, but is not handicapped accessible and the path to it is not either. One of the projects on our 2019-2020 list is to rebuild the bench and create an ADA accessible path and shooting area.
Lastly, in 2018, at the request of the Menomonie High School Trap team, and with their help, we built a 16 yard, 5 station regulation trap range. The club purchased a 300 target thrower and 5 voice activation units through grants and donations. The trap range is operational but needs more landscaping to make it ADA accessible year round.
The Rifle and Pistol club has 33 trained Range Safety Officers (RSO) who ensure the range is operated safely for our clients. Historically, those RSOs volunteer to keep the range open over 1000 hours per year to provide our over 2000 annual visitors a safe shooting environment. In 2018, club volunteers worked over 400 hours completing maintenance and range improvements.
The club also hosts several events throughout the year. These include women and youth events and Hunter Safety Courses. In addition, the Menomonie High School Trap Team practices at this facility every Wednesday night from March through October.
Although we rely primarily on donations from clients using the range, the Menomonie Public Shooting Range is a public park and therefore, there is no required fee. We do suggest a donation of $5.00 per client but in 2017, the average donation per user was $1.39. Electricity runs about $1300.00 per year, insurance on the club’s equipment (which would not be needed if it belonged to the county is $490, and maintenance on target stands and buildings runs over $800.00 per year. Office and cleaning supplies add another $250.00. Finally equipment fuel and maintenance is over $600.00. Last year, in order to build a new maintenance shed so equipment could be repaired in the winter; the club borrowed $5000.00 to the range at no interest, to be paid back hen the range fund has enough money to be self-sustaining. Along with the money from the club, the range also received almost $12000.00 from grants and private donations which were used to add 2 concrete pads, making the pistol and 100-200 yard firing points, and picnic benches ADA accessible, the new maintenance building, and the trap range. The range also received a private donation for $2800.00 towards the well project.
Yearly totals for the monies the range received from clients using the range are:
Here is a breakdown of client use, client donations, and range hours.
We average about $2.50 from each client or the same for each hour the range is open.
The range and our equipment is equipment is aging. The range needs several improvements to make it safer, to make it more ADA accessible, and to repair and upgrade several of the environmental controls on the range. Unfortunately, our current equipment is nearing the end of it’s lifecycle and cannot be used for repairing and upgrading the range. We have identified 5 projects needed on the range, 2 are safety issues, two are ADA accessibility issues, and one is environmental. As safety is of paramount importance at any shooting range these are our priority issues.
Our first priority is at the 200-300 yard berm where the target stands are located. Over the years, the two side berms have “flattened” causing the width of the 200-300 yard target area to decrease in size. That in itself is not the concern. The concern is that a Range safety officer (RSO) must be positioned towards the north end of the range to see clients when they go downrange to set, check, or retrieve their targets; resulting in the RSO positioning themselves such that they cannot immediately address safety issues at the pistol or the south end of the 100 yard areas. To alleviate this, our plan is to cut the south berm by the 200-300 yard area back on an angle allowing the RSO to remain in the center of the pistol/ rifle area and still see all downrange activity. In addition, the flattening of the north by the 200-300 yard area has limited the ability of 300 yard shooters to use the rightmost target. This could result in crossfire shooting when there are both the 200 and 300 yard shooting using the range at the same time. Our control for this is to widen the shooting area on the north side by 6 feet. Both of these controls will not affect the current height of the safety berms.
Our second priority is to put a well and install 2 frost-free exterior hydrants. The reasoning is that we host several events involving youths in addition to having youths come to shoot on a regular basis. Shooting of course, involves handling ammunition which contains lead. While we do have hand sanitizer and towels located near the rest facility, youths are notorious for not washing hands well. Running water and regular soap is more effective in washing the lead contaminates from their hands and would also provide easy access to drinking water to alleviate the possibility of dehydration during our all day events. The well would be installed near an outbuilding that we can dedicate to the pressure tank. Power needs to come from the main box located near the entrance to the 300 yard shooting bench. This would mean trenching in about 115 yards of wire and the hydrants would be place by the lavatory and the range house.
As our cliental has changed in the last few years, we are seeing more people with disabilities using the range. In the past, we have had few, if any, requiring accommodations to use the 300 yard benches. With the increase in the sport of long range shooting, this has changed. To be proactive in the needs of all our clients, last year we added 2 cement pads to provide better access to the rifle and pistol areas for those with mobility handicaps. This year we would like to make the 300 yard benches more ADA accessible. To respond to these needs, we would like to level and gravel the path to the 300 yard area and widen it to accept a vehicle. This would involve leveling about 70 feet of the path and widening it to about 12 feet. We also would like to add cement from the gravel area to the shooting benches and rebuild the shooting benches to provide wheelchair access.
The second ADA project involves the trap range. Currently, ADA clients can access the range from a gravel road put in years ago. However, in the construction of the trap range, we ran out of time and money to make the shootings positions accessible. In the spring and after heavy rains, the area between the culvert and the shooting position becomes wheelchair inaccessible. We would like to finish the project by landscaping that area to provide runoff into the drainage ditches located on either side and gravel the area up to the shooting positions so wheelchairs have access year round.
Cutting through the range east of the range house and behind the firing lines runs a DNR waterway. To the right of the 200 yard firing points and between the trap area is a ditch that feeds into that waterway. Over the years, this ditch has filled in and the result is that water does not run off the range as it did years ago. In addition, the trap house, which houses the thrower, blocks water from running into the ditch and floods during spring rains. To provide adequate run-off, we would like to recut the original ditch the full 300 feet and make it 18”wide and 18” deep the entire length. We would fill it with mesh and rock to increase effectiveness. Also, we would cut another ditch along the north berm the same size and length. These would both empty into the waterway on the east side of the range. We currently monitor the range to insure no lead is introduced into the ground water. Finally, we would landscape the area between the two ditches to ensure runoff into the ditches.
As was stated before, the range and our current equipment is getting old. Our clients have changes and the way they use the range has changed. In order to provide the people of the county the best and safest possible shooting experience, we feel these improvements are necessary. We could put these projects out for bids, and will have to for some aspects, but we also feel the need for new equipment to defray these and future costs. We are asking for donations to purchase a new mid-size tractor capable of mowing and snowblowing with a bucket attachment to be used to lower the cost of these projects. Donations can be specified for a particular project or allocated to the general fund. One last point, the pistol berm is comprised of sand and is gravity fed from the attic area. To fill the berm, we are currently relegated to shoveling up there by hand. This is a several times a year maintenance item. A bucket loader would be extremely helpful in this and other ongoing maintenance issues.
Please contact Duke Holmberg at email@example.com or (715) 928-0446.