AUGUSTA – Officials from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife celebrated the grand opening of a shooting range in Augusta.
“I’m feeling really excited about this today,” said Anna Harris, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ecological services project leader.
The Summerhaven shooting range is a $2.5 million state of the art range that officials said is safer, quieter and cleaner than the previous range.
“Being able to provide a safe place for folks to practice is what this facility is about,” Harris said.
“We’re basically giving back to those shooters who are providing funding both for wildlife restoration and for the shooting sports industry,” she said.
Harris said 60 to 70 percent of funding comes from the shooting sports industry.
The range was funded through the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Act which receives money through excise taxes on firearms and ammunition.
“A lot of shooters pay for conservation in the state of Maine and across the country,” said the Special Projects Coordinator for Wildlife Division, Robert Corves.
“This is a good way to provide opportunities for the public to use a facility like this,” he said.
On Wednesday members gathered to get a tour of the new facility and got to try it out.
The range offers eight 100-yard rifle lanes, 12 25-yard pistol or rifle lanes and a 50-yard archery range.
It’s free for public use and Harris said it’s a safe place with range safety officers on site at all times.
She also said it’s ecologically friendly because the ammunition is contained in the facility and cleaned up afterwards.
“I think it’s a big deal for Maine to have this opportunity,” Harris said.