Falmouth gun club reopens 1 range, 3 others still closed

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FALMOUTH — After being closed for almost a year because of safety issues, the Falmouth Rod & Gun Club has reopened one of its shooting ranges.

Three other ranges will remain closed indefinitely until the club makes significant safety and environmental improvements.

Police Sgt. Frank Soule said Friday that the range received a one-year permit on Oct. 12 to use a trap range after some changes were made to increase safety.

All four of the club’s ranges were closed after police and code enforcement inspectors in November 2010 found serious issues, including stray bullets on neighboring property.

Soule said those who use the range now can only shoot from platforms and that they must use an automated throwing arm, rather than throwing the clay pigeons themselves, to keep the shooting location consistent.

“That way it’s all falling on the range property,” Soule said.

Someone from the club must be present when the range is in use, and a key is required to unlock the automated throwing arm.

Club President Dave Ennis said he is hoping to have more information in the coming weeks about the other three ranges.

“We have had discussions with the town, we’ve had discussions with the Police Department, and now it’s a matter of getting an application into the Planning Department and getting started,” Ennis said.

In order to open the rest of its ranges, the club will have to build additional earthen berms to protect neighboring properties. Some of the work will be significant and must go to the Planning Board for approval before it can begin.

The club was also hit with a notice of violation earlier this year from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for disrupting and rerouting a stream without a permit. As a result, sediment has reportedly been building up on a neighbor’s property.

The DEP has required the club to restore the stream to its original flow, remove an earthen dam and replant native species in the area.

An announcement on the club website says the trap range is available to club members and their guests for $4 per round, and Ennis said club members will be there Sunday, Oct. 23, to use the range.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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