Shooting range to reopen
Legislators get good news about Sleepy Creek
By Jenni Vincent / Journal Staff Writer POSTED: May 30, 2009
MARTINSBURG - Berkeley County legislators got good news about the fate of the now-closed Sleepy Creek Wildlife Management Area's shooting range when they met this week with state Department of Natural Resource officials in Charleston.
During Thursday's meeting, Republican Delegates Craig Blair, Jonathan Miller, Walter Duke and John Overington were told that the popular rural facility will reopen soon.
Plus, there was more good news, Blair said.
"The current facility will reopen in the very near future for shotgun use only. However, they are also looking to garner funds for a new, second facility at Sleepy Creek, one which would be for rifle and pistol use," he said in a telephone interview from Charleston.
Blair said he heard from lots of constituents since the shooting range was closed by the DNR earlier this month.
"I guess I never really know just how utilized this facility was, but I quickly learned," he said. "From the way I understand it, sometimes there are people there from sun up to sun down."
DNR officials said the closing would be temporary, but it was necessary to correct a safety problem at the range.
That's because a cabin had been hit with bullets from those shooting at the practice facility, DNR officials said.
Miller said he was impressed with the DNR officials' "spirit of cooperation" and he feels confident that they are working to reopen the facility as quickly as possible.
"They definitely want it to open again. There is no anti-gun sentiment there. And it was good to be able to meet face to face to discuss this with them," Miller said.
He hopes it will be open again "sooner rather than later."
Still, it was important to address the safety concerns, Miller said.
"They just want it to be safe, and it was prudent to take the property owner and his safety concerns into consideration. That had to be a priority," he said.
"The really good news is that they seem to have found a way to address that, while also being serious about building another shooting range close by at Sleepy Creek," Miller said.
- Staff writer Jenni Vincent can be reached at (304) 263-3381, ext. 138, or email@example.com