State seeks public comment on future of Chena Hot Springs shooting range

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking public input regarding future management of the shooting range at 36.5 mile Chena Hot Springs Road. The division has set up a survey page, and is encouraging anyone who uses the shooting range or thinks they will use it to give their comments.

The Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation is seeking the public's help to determine future management of this shooting range off of Chena Hot Springs Road. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

The Chena River shooting range has been plagued with troubles lately regarding management and upkeep. According to a press release from the Department of Natural Resources, a tighter budget and reduced staffing levels mean the division can no longer keep the site safe and well maintained.

Brooks Ludwig, superintendent of the Northern Area for the Alaska DNR, said they had a volunteer group come and clean the range up this spring, but within two weeks it was pretty much trashed again.

“People bring in everything you can think of -- from refrigerators, to TVs, to propane tanks... set them up, shoot them... and unfortunately, a lot of times they will leave that kind of stuff out there,” Ludwig said.

Earlier this year the division set up a gate to try limiting trash left at the site, but it drew outrage from the community.

Ludwig said that they won’t close the shooting range, but need to find a better way to manage it and keep it clean. One idea they have is using a reservation system for a small fee. They have also considered placing a dumpster at the site, but say that is costly and it would probably just get shot up.

Ludwig said they want as many people to take the survey as possible so they get the best idea of what the community wants. The survey can be found here. It will run until December 31.

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