Three months after it was closed to the public because of repeated vandalism, the Whitman Branch Shooting Range near Laurel River Lake is slated to reopen.
Officials with the Daniel Boone National Forest announced that the newly renovated facility off of Ky. 1193 would be reopened to the public at noon Friday.
“We are very pleased with the new facilities and upgrades, and I think the public will be pleased as well,” said District Ranger Jason Nedlo with the Daniel Boone National Forest. “Our goal was to have the range open for modern gun deer hunting season, and I’m happy to say that we’ve met that goal.”
The renovations include six shooting lanes with targets for each lane, an overhead shelter and shooting benches.
The shooting stations were installed on a concrete slab.
Target backstops are built at 25, 50 and 100 yard ranges. The backstops are covered with chicken wire to which paper targets may be attached.
“Due to inappropriate use and vandalism over time, the shooting range had deteriorated to an unsafe and unsightly condition,” said Nedlo. “Since so many repairs were needed, we took this opportunity to completely reconstruct the shooting range. The result is a newer, safer recreational sport facility.”
Visitors traversing the path from the parking lot to the range will see a large trash receptacle, which was shot multiple times during the vandalism incident in July.
A sign next to it denotes that it was such vandalism that forced the closure of the range.
“Future vandalism may result in temporary or permanent closure of the Whitman Branch Shooting Range,” the sign states adding that incidents of vandalism may be anonymously reported by calling (606) 864-4163.
Without the Whitman Branch range, shooters wanting to a use a U.S. Forest Service facility would be required to drive to the Keno Shooting Range in Pulaski County.
The range is free to use and open to the public during daylight hours.