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  #21 (permalink)  
Old April 7th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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Post Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

Residents take aim at rifle range

By: AMANDA CREGAN
The Intelligencer
The Game Commission is planning to reopen the public shooting range at Nockamixon State Park.

It's been four years since the air cracked with gunshots day and night, some barely grazing nearby homes.

Fears that Nockamixon State Park's public rifle range is set to re-open this summer brought worried residents to Monday night's Haycock supervisors meeting.

It was standing room only as nearly 25 neighbors packed the tiny municipal building telling horror stories of criminal and gang violence, threats against area homeowners, drug and alcohol use, 24-hour activity, toxic lead pollution and groundwater contamination, and reckless gun users - some shooting high-powered assault rifles into the air.

"There were a lot of safety violations that really put us in a state of fear," said Dorothy Comfort, who represented a group of residents who live along nearby East Sawmill Road.

Comfort and her neighbors were angry they hadn't been notified by the state Game Commission, which operates the range, and only found out about the June reopening by seeing a small notice posted under an old rifle range sign.

Once primarily used by responsible sportsmen and licensed National Rifle Association members, the range later became plagued with problems because neither Game Commission officials nor state police regularly supervised the site, said Comfort.

"We had been complaining and getting all the police reports on all the vandalism for years and all of a sudden it was closed and we were told it would never reopen," said Comfort, a resident for 31 years. "We really feel at this point and for having four years of our neighborhood like it is we cannot accept the rifle range to operate in the way it did for 40 years."

Comfort said she remains baffled as to why the rifle range sits next to the only residential area in a span of 2,000 acres of state game land.

Her husband, Bob Comfort, worries about the unseen environmental damage and compared the abandoned rifle range to a Superfund site.

"A rifle range used everyday for decades can have a million pounds in lead that can leach into the ground," he said. "That whole area is a toxic waste dump and it is now abandoned, and it really violates a least a few federal statutes."

The Comforts and several East Sawmill Road residents are working with Rep. Paul Clymer to get some regulations in place. Clymer has petitioned the Game Commission to enforce restricted hours, put in place proper supervision, post types of firearms that can be used and close the rifle range on Sundays.

With the increasingly high costs of private rifle ranges and gun clubs, Bob Comfort is concerned that more people will trek in from out of state to shoot at a public rifle range.

"It's a safety hazard. It's a public health issue, and it's a noise pollution issue. There's no restrictions on anything and no supervision," he said. "These are not responsible hunters. These are not NRA members. A lot of these people come in from Jersey."

Haycock Township Supervisor Chairwoman Kathleen Babb says the board will try to get answers for residents.

"I think what we can do is probably fairly limited, but I think we can get someone from the Game Commission and someone from the EPA or DEP to attend a meeting or even schedule a special meeting."

Amanda Cregan can be reached at 215-538-6371 or acregan@phillyBurbs.com.

http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/loca...fle-range.html

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  #22 (permalink)  
Old April 7th, 2009, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

Ya know, I'm all for open discourse on any action that involves a community or lifestyle. I understand that the people in the area around Nockamixon have concerns....I would too. But some of that stuff is pure fiction. How could someone be firing "at all times of the night" without a game officer or police being called out? As for lack of oversight, I regularly saw PGC LE at that range. I myself never had a negative contact but I saw them come down on others. I never saw anyone firing into the air. A few boneheads to be sure who were clueless but never any sort of gangbangers or criminal elements. Now I'm curious, does anyone know just how close the closest house is from the firing line? Towards the backstop that is. As best as I can see it these people are just not gun friendly and are willing to hedge the truth or outright lie to get their way. The same people who bought houses near an operating gunrange. We have the same sort here near the LRAGC and Wicin's. Moved in by a range then gripe about it. On a personal note, I wish I had such a range through the woods near me! It wouldn't be gunfire, it would be music. The 12 gauge concerto in f minor accompanied by the 5.56 brass section. Conducted by AR Benelli. Featuring the soloist Barret.
  #23 (permalink)  
Old April 7th, 2009, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

I was never at the range that at some point the PGC officer always made an appearance there. When I first started going there there were no houses around it at all the 4 lane road wasn't there either. There were Urban comandos there sometimes but they always were respectful and followed the rules. Assuming they are right and there was shooting after dark a call to the state police would have ended that since there is only one way in or out of the area. Look at the houses on your way in there sometimeTypical "Limosine Liberal" modern and less than 10 years old. I had a friend that lived in Brown's Mills NJ close to Ft. Dix and you could hear artillary practice most days and that wasn't at all disterbing
  #24 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErSwnn View Post
Now I'm curious, does anyone know just how close the closest house is from the firing line?
The closest house is 500yrds... behind the firing line!



Downrange, the closest is .66miles (house on the left). There's a 89ft ascent and 62ft descent in that distance.
Next closest is 1.29 miles (house on right). There's a 128ft ascent and 128ft descent in that distance.
Next closest is 1.78 miles (house in middle). There's a 187ft ascent and 344ft descent in that distance.



As you can see in the photos, the range is completely surrounded by dense wooded areas and has haycock mountain as a backstop. Any house within 2 miles is completely safe.

The only danger would be someone shooting straight into the air. In that case, houses within several miles would be in danger, as would apply to virtually every other shooting range in the state!
  #25 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

I really hope that range opens up again... Its so close to home...
  #26 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

Nice work, tlgpa. Would it be possible to send the photos to the writer at The Daily Intelligencer? I bet she would just be thrilled to view them.
In the past I used the range often, as it's fairly close to me. I'm really looking forward to the day when the range is re-opened.
I hear a lot of belly aching from the new johnny-come-lately to upper Bucks county. They move to the country but bring their city ways with them.
The range pre-dates their arrival.
  #27 (permalink)  
Old April 17th, 2009, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

I would love to see it open again as this was one of the first ranges I was taught to shoot. With all the PGC ranges you have some idiots shooting but what do you expect when they are free and no range officer.Maybe the PGC should think about putting an officer at the ranges in thier territories on the weekends as a range officer what else do they do? They sure don't walk thru the woods looking for hunters breaking the law.
  #28 (permalink)  
Old May 14th, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

Related News:
Rifle range plans anger residents

Rifle range plans anger residents

The Intelligencer
Bucks and Montcomery counties' only public rifle range is set to reopen this fall. Haycock residents have concerns.


Haycock residents have taken aim at a nearby public rifle range set to reopen this year.

It's been four years since the range was shuttered and talk of it becoming open once again concerns residents such as East Sawmill Road's Dorothy Comfort.

Residents' reports of criminal and gang violence, threats against area homeowners, drug and alcohol use, 24-hour activity, occult practices and reckless gun users - some shooting high-powered assault rifles into the air - has neighbors pushing for full-time supervision of the range.

But fears residents expressed at a recent township meeting don't match up with Pennsylvania Game Commission officials' recollection. They say the range was well supervised and has almost no history of violence.

State police Sgt. Steven Stinsky, whose department is assigned to patrol Haycock and respond to criminal complaints, says although police files dating back before its closing have since been purged, officers don't remember criminal problems associated with the range. Game Commission officials said the reason the range was closed was because it had fallen into disrepair.

The rifle range, owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, sits on the edge of 2,000 acres of state game lands, adjacent to Nockamixon State Park.

"There were a lot of safety violations that really put us in a state of fear," said Comfort.

She joined about 25 residents who packed the township supervisors meeting last month seeking answers for their concerns about violence and lead pollution from the spent shell casings. Neighbors were also asking why they had not been notified of the reopening.

It was discovered after a neighbor noticed a handwritten note on an existing rifle range sign saying 'Opening 2009.'

But Game Commission officials say when the rifle range reopens this fall new safety measures will be in place and residents can trust that it will operate under National Rifle Association standards.

The Haycock rifle range is the only public range in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, making it an important spot for hunters to set their weapons' sights and target practice before heading off into the woods, said Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser.

"Let's understand why we have rifle ranges to begin with. Part of planning for hunting season is to make sure you are proficient and your gun is in working order," he said.

The upgraded range will have 10 stations with an adjustable roof, raised backstop and side berms and handicap accessibility.

"The lead issue has already been addressed. The safety standards are on target for being addressed," said Feaser, who noted that the site underwent lead abatement in 2007.

Rules and hours will be posted, and although the range will not be continually monitored, uniformed and plainclothes park rangers will patrol the area.

"It's a self-manning kind of thing. If someone is violating any regulations, we're notified," said Feaser, who noted hunters will usually report any unlawful acts.

Advertisement But Haycock homeowner Comfort says without regular supervision the range will be a breeding ground for trouble.

"The point is, if you would open any business, whether it's a restaurant or a rifle range, you need to have supervision," she said. "If you don't have money in your budget to do it right, then don't do it."

Comfort wants Game Commission officials to understand how this affects the lives of area homeowners.

"If it was their neighborhood I guess it would be a different story," she said. "This is about quality of life and safety. This isn't about a recreational thing for us."

Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer John Papson has been patrolling the rifle range and game lands since 2002 and said he's never seen signs of violence.

"I know what I've seen up there and I know what I've dealt with up there, and I haven't seen anything like that," said Papson, who noted he also researched past reports looking for evidence of residents' claims. "I never arrested anyone for drugs or alcohol up there."

Commission spokesman Feaser says the range is important to provide hunters with a safe place to hone their skills.

"This is the only one in Bucks County, and we sell a lot of hunting licenses in Bucks County. Right now, if you live in Bucks County you have to travel to northern Lehigh County to get to your rifle range."

Residents say they welcome responsible, local, licensed hunters, but the high cost of private gun clubs and shooting ranges brings people to the rural Upper Bucks community from New York and New Jersey, which include those who want to shoot off automatic weapons.

"I don't think any of our residents are opposed to it being open," said Haycock Supervisor Chairwoman Kathleen Babb, who says she used to hear rapid fire gunshots coming from the range. "I think they all recognize that it's got its place. All they're asking is that there be some kind of monitoring so it doesn't become out of control. We are a very isolated area. And with no monitoring, does it give people from the city a right to have any kind of guns in their car and just say they were at the rifle range?"

Game Commission officials will attend Haycock's June 1 township meeting to discuss the rifle range and answer questions.

Sen. Chuck McIlhinney plans to tour the rifle range beforehand to evaluate the improvements being made and offer suggestions.

"I'm not opposed to a rifle range there, but a safe one is the responsibility of the owner, which is the Game Commission, which becomes my responsibility," said McIlhinney. "I'm going to take a look at how they are going to operate and maintain this as a safe, operating rifle range."

Amanda Cregan can be reached at 215-538-6371 or acregan@phillyBurbs.com.

If you go

What: Haycock meeting, discussing rifle range

When: June 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Municipal building, located on Harrisburg School Road

May 14, 2009 02:30 AM
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old May 14th, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Default Nockamixon gun range gets residents mad...

Related News:
Rifle range plans anger residents

The Intelligencer
Bucks and Montcomery counties' only public rifle range is set to reopen this fall. Haycock residents have concerns.


Haycock residents have taken aim at a nearby public rifle range set to reopen this year.

It's been four years since the range was shuttered and talk of it becoming open once again concerns residents such as East Sawmill Road's Dorothy Comfort.

Residents' reports of criminal and gang violence, threats against area homeowners, drug and alcohol use, 24-hour activity, occult practices and reckless gun users - some shooting high-powered assault rifles into the air - has neighbors pushing for full-time supervision of the range.

But fears residents expressed at a recent township meeting don't match up with Pennsylvania Game Commission officials' recollection. They say the range was well supervised and has almost no history of violence.

State police Sgt. Steven Stinsky, whose department is assigned to patrol Haycock and respond to criminal complaints, says although police files dating back before its closing have since been purged, officers don't remember criminal problems associated with the range. Game Commission officials said the reason the range was closed was because it had fallen into disrepair.

The rifle range, owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, sits on the edge of 2,000 acres of state game lands, adjacent to Nockamixon State Park.

"There were a lot of safety violations that really put us in a state of fear," said Comfort.

She joined about 25 residents who packed the township supervisors meeting last month seeking answers for their concerns about violence and lead pollution from the spent shell casings. Neighbors were also asking why they had not been notified of the reopening.

It was discovered after a neighbor noticed a handwritten note on an existing rifle range sign saying 'Opening 2009.'

But Game Commission officials say when the rifle range reopens this fall new safety measures will be in place and residents can trust that it will operate under National Rifle Association standards.

The Haycock rifle range is the only public range in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, making it an important spot for hunters to set their weapons' sights and target practice before heading off into the woods, said Game Commission spokesman Jerry Feaser.

"Let's understand why we have rifle ranges to begin with. Part of planning for hunting season is to make sure you are proficient and your gun is in working order," he said.

The upgraded range will have 10 stations with an adjustable roof, raised backstop and side berms and handicap accessibility.

"The lead issue has already been addressed. The safety standards are on target for being addressed," said Feaser, who noted that the site underwent lead abatement in 2007.

Rules and hours will be posted, and although the range will not be continually monitored, uniformed and plainclothes park rangers will patrol the area.

"It's a self-manning kind of thing. If someone is violating any regulations, we're notified," said Feaser, who noted hunters will usually report any unlawful acts.

Advertisement But Haycock homeowner Comfort says without regular supervision the range will be a breeding ground for trouble.

"The point is, if you would open any business, whether it's a restaurant or a rifle range, you need to have supervision," she said. "If you don't have money in your budget to do it right, then don't do it."

Comfort wants Game Commission officials to understand how this affects the lives of area homeowners.

"If it was their neighborhood I guess it would be a different story," she said. "This is about quality of life and safety. This isn't about a recreational thing for us."

Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer John Papson has been patrolling the rifle range and game lands since 2002 and said he's never seen signs of violence.

"I know what I've seen up there and I know what I've dealt with up there, and I haven't seen anything like that," said Papson, who noted he also researched past reports looking for evidence of residents' claims. "I never arrested anyone for drugs or alcohol up there."

Commission spokesman Feaser says the range is important to provide hunters with a safe place to hone their skills.

"This is the only one in Bucks County, and we sell a lot of hunting licenses in Bucks County. Right now, if you live in Bucks County you have to travel to northern Lehigh County to get to your rifle range."

Residents say they welcome responsible, local, licensed hunters, but the high cost of private gun clubs and shooting ranges brings people to the rural Upper Bucks community from New York and New Jersey, which include those who want to shoot off automatic weapons.

"I don't think any of our residents are opposed to it being open," said Haycock Supervisor Chairwoman Kathleen Babb, who says she used to hear rapid fire gunshots coming from the range. "I think they all recognize that it's got its place. All they're asking is that there be some kind of monitoring so it doesn't become out of control. We are a very isolated area. And with no monitoring, does it give people from the city a right to have any kind of guns in their car and just say they were at the rifle range?"

Game Commission officials will attend Haycock's June 1 township meeting to discuss the rifle range and answer questions.

Sen. Chuck McIlhinney plans to tour the rifle range beforehand to evaluate the improvements being made and offer suggestions.

"I'm not opposed to a rifle range there, but a safe one is the responsibility of the owner, which is the Game Commission, which becomes my responsibility," said McIlhinney. "I'm going to take a look at how they are going to operate and maintain this as a safe, operating rifle range."

Amanda Cregan can be reached at 215-538-6371 or acregan@phillyBurbs.com.

If you go

What: Haycock meeting, discussing rifle range

When: June 1 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Municipal building, located on Harrisburg School Road

May 14, 2009 02:30 AM
__________________
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  #30 (permalink)  
Old May 14th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Nockamixon Firing Range

I especially liked the part where the homeowner and about 25 other residents "packed" the township supervisors meeting. It only took 25 ppl to fill the meeting? Where is this meeting held? A closet? Another funny thing was the insinuation of bad seeds, drugs, threats against homeowners and reckless gun owners shooting high powered weapons in the air..all because the gun range is set to reopen. Ridiculous. These nuts will say anything, absolutely anything.
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