Nearly five months after it was closed because of another round of vandalism, the Whitman Branch Shooting Range located in the Daniel Boone National Forest is close to reopening.
The range, located near the Laurel Lake spillway in Whitley County, was closed in February after bullet holes were shot into the overhead shelter over the shooting area.
Vandals used fire extinguishers and propane tanks as targets, while others shot directly into the backstops as opposed to hanging targets.
Even without the damage inflicted upon the backstops, Jason Nedlo of the London Ranger District said they must be regularly replaced.
“If we get a year out of them, we are doing good,” Nedlo said.
The repairs were delayed because the wet weather precluded crews from bringing in the necessary heavy equipment.
“As wet as it has been, we would have done more damage if we had tried to bring in the equipment,” Nedlo said.
Nedlo said with the work nearly completed, the goal is to have the range open to the public by next week.
February marked the second time the range has been closed because of vandalism.
The shooting range was closed for three months in 2017 for extensive repairs after it was repeatedly targeted by vandals.
As part of the renovations, six shooting lanes were established, along with an overhead shelter and shooting benches.
As part of the revamped facility, a large trash receptacle that was the target of vandalism in July 2017 remained on site. The receptacle had been shot multiple times.
A sign next to it warned, “Future vandalism may result in temporary or permanent closure of the Whitman Branch Shooting Range.
Any information on vandalism may be anonymously reported by calling (606) 864-4163.
Without the Whitman Branch range, shooters wanting to use a U.S. Forest Service facility would be required to drive to the Keno Shooting Range in Pulaski County.