After months of recurring vandalism, the London Ranger District has closed a popular recreation area until safety repairs can be completed. The Whitman Branch Shooting Range near Laurel River Lake was closed this week due to extensive damages at the site.
“Due to inappropriate use and vandalism over time, this recreational shooting range had deteriorated to an unsafe and unsightly condition,” said District Ranger Jason Nedlo with the Daniel Boone National Forest.
“We want to provide our visitors with a place to enjoy outdoor gun sports and target practice, but this facility finally reached a point that closure was the only good option.”
The U.S. Forest Service plans to renovate the shooting range and has already incorporated new design ideas. The updates will include six new shooting benches, two dedicated for pistols and four for rifle use. The gravel shooting area will be replaced with concrete, a shelter will be constructed over the new shooting benches, and a few other amenities will be added.
“It’s unfortunate that vandalism resulted in this site’s closure, along with the cost to renovate and restore,” said Nedlo.
“Once the shooting range is renovated and reopened, I hope everyone will respect the facility and help us promote responsible shooting for future generations to enjoy.”
From Whitman Branch, the next closest shooting range managed by the Forest Service is Keno Shooting Range in Pulaski County. Forest visitors are encouraged to use the Keno location while Whitman Branch remains closed.