25 Nov AGFC shooting range to close for renovations
The Dr. James E. Moore Jr. Camp Robinson Firing Range near Mayflower will be closed to public use Monday, Dec. 5, for renovations to the ranges and range house. The closure should last until spring.
Grant Tomlin, range development coordinator for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, says the closure will make it possible to conduct some large renovation projects and is necessary to maintain safety for contractors and workers during the project.
“If we continue to have dry weather, we hope to be back open around the middle of March, but if we get a lot of rain, it may be as long as April,” Tomlin said.
Five additional shooting stations will be added to the 200-yard rifle range at the facility, adding some much needed access to the benches when deer season rolls around.
“Each year, we tell people to come out before the week prior to opening weekend, but we always have a huge crowd come in at the 11th hour,” Tomlin said. “Five more stations won’t solve the crowding problem, but it can help during those high traffic times.”
Tomlin says all stations at the rifle range also will be fitted with an LED indicator to visually show users when the range is under a “cease fire.”
A new 50-yard range next to the pistol range also will relieve some of the pressure on the range’s customers while law enforcement, concealed carry classes and AGFC programs need to use part of the range.
“We have had to schedule special shooting classes after normal business hours, but this added range should let us serve those interests without disturbing normal range operations,” Tomlin said.
The area also will see more parking areas and more sidewalks running throughout the complex for the safety and convenience of the range’s patrons.
“We’ll even be enlarging the range house to enclose the front porch area so customers can have a larger climate-controlled place to sit while they wait to shoot,” Tomlin said. “New PA speakers and cameras also will make things safer for people visiting the range.”
The improvements to the range are expected to cost between $650,000 and $700,000, available through the Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) of 1937 for the development and management of shooting ranges.
“We will post updates to the shooting range’s Facebook page (facebook.com/Dr-James-E-Moore-Jr-Camp-Robinson-Firing-Range) as we move forward with the improvements,” said Tomlin. “We’ll also make sure to post an announcement on the AGFC’s main Facebook page as well as the weekly email newsletter when the newly updated range is open for business again.”
These additions are the latest improvements to the range, which has seen some welcome additions in the last few years. A new pond was added, and fishing derbies for community events began last year. A new 3-D archery course rings the pond, and includes a special platform where archers can simulate the angles found in hunting from a tree stand.
“We are always looking for ways to improve the experience for our customers at the range,” Tomlin said. “And we think these additions as well as those to the (Camp Robinson) Special Use Area really add to the experience of coming to Mayflower.”