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Thread: Article on Shutting down the Maud Road Shooting Range

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Not far from Anchorage is a place that is rich in wildlife, with an abundance of public lands perfect for quiet recreation and family outings. Yet few venture there because of its reputation as a lawless place dominated by young men with guns.

    Each spring and fall thousands of swans descend on the lakes, marshes and sloughs that lie at the heart of the Knik River Public Use Area, justifying the designation as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. The Jim Creek complex hosts one of the latest runs of salmon in Southcentral Alaska, with fish spawning on the spring-fed shores of Mud and Jim lakes into November and attracting hundreds of bald eagles.

    The cliffs to the north of Jim Creek rise 6,000 feet to ridges that support nesting golden eagles and large herds of Dall sheep.Four major lakes are connected by a network of creeks and sloughs to form a recreational playground that offers some of the finest canoeing and ice skating in Alaska.

    Easy trails lead to spectacular vistas and harder scrambles lead to the highest summits above. All of this is less than 15 minutes from downtown Palmer and accessible in most seasons by a standard family SUV.

    What keeps most people away from this public treasure is young men with guns. The Department of Natural Resources has designated a shooting range at the base of the cliffs near Mud Lake. These cliffs act as a natural amplifier with the sound of gunfire echoing off this wall, audible for miles around.

    The access road to Jim Lake passes within fifty feet of the shooting range, forcing families to run a gauntlet to pass young men armed with guns and alcohol. The shooting range is littered with spent shells, beer bottles, and millions of lead bullets in the surrounding trees and soil.

    Of course the shooting is not confined to the designated target range as evidenced by the bullet-ridden signs and broken beer bottle targets everywhere. I have encountered young men with guns shooting spawning salmon, I have found wildlife maimed and killed by young men with guns, and I have had bullets whiz past me fired by young men with guns.

    Over the past few years the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Friends of Palmer Hay Flats have done a commendable job of closing and cleaning up two other "Rambo ranges" at Cottonwood Creek and Reflections Lake. Part of the effort involved removing lead-contaminated soil from a shooting range much like the one now sanctioned by the state at Jim Creek.

    These places used to be like Jim Creek, given over to the lawlessness of young men with guns. But now these are family-friendly spots that on any given days draw crowds to admire the quiet scenery and amazing wildlife.Things are getting better at Jim Creek, thanks to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, the Alaska State Troopers and a growing number of people who refuse to be intimidated by young men with guns.The next step is for the state to close the Mud Lake shooting range.

    There is no good reason to give over our public areas to what amounts to land abuse. There are plenty of shooting ranges in Southcentral Alaska that are safe, clean and well-managed. Closing the shooting range would make visitors feel safe and welcome, eliminate a major source of environmental degradation and give this spectacular area the respect it deserves.

    These are our public lands and we want them back.

    Brad Meiklejohn has been exploring Alaska's wilderness, including Jim Creek, for the last 20 years.

    Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2014/03/06/336137...#storylink=cpy
    As a "young man with a gun" I'm a little offended.....

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Cowboy, I'm in agreement. Sounds like the writer of this article has a hardon for young men with guns. The range at maud road is hardly what I'd call a range. I occasionally shoot there. And always leave it better than I found it. The shooting doesn't bother most people I've encountered in that area. It certainly doesn't bother me when I'm camped out in the area as long as the shooter(s) are being responsible. What a d bag this writer is.



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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    I am kind of confused by this "range at Mud Lake". There is an area between Jim Lake and Mud Lake that is a range and it is desiganted as such in the Knik Public Use Area management plan. However, it has not been fully developed due to various funding and legal issues. The author may not be aware of the public process that has been going on for over a decade out there.

    At Mud Lake there is an other rambo range and that is on private property owned by Elkutna Corporation. Sometimes share holders are there shooting on their private corporate owned land and other times Joe Rambo is there. Hard to tell the difference most days.

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    Sounds like the writer of the article must be an "old man with no gun"
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tearbear View Post
    Sounds like the writer of the article must be an "old man with no gun"
    You forgot "bitter" in that description.

    I've been to Maud Road once. I personally didn't like it, but frankly didn't see anything of the sort described in that article. This is a person who sees "public" land as his personal private property and can only be used in ways he personally accepts. Articles like this make me want to go shoot at Maud just to tick him off.

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    I've shot at that "range". I agree with some of what he says. People, especially drunk and/or stupid people, ruin things for the folks who have at least just a tiny bit of common sense and courtesy. Those shooting areas are disgusting. The part of that article I disagree with is where he says that there are plenty of shooting ranges in South Central. There are really not many shooting ranges, and those that exist generally have hours and restrictions that make shooting there difficult.

    I am looking forward to shooting more at the Upper Susitna Shooters Range this summer, but I just cant justify the membership expense to shoot at the indoor range in Palmer. The hours and days open are not too conducive to my schedule, and even as a member, it costs quite a bit to shoot each time. Isn't the point of a membership that you don't have to pay every time you come to shoot?

    Now is the time to develop more ranges in the Mat Su. There will never be a time that will be easier to site a range, as the population grows, there is going to be more NIMBY as well as more people wanting to shoot.

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    Member ak_cowboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    \The part of that article I disagree with is where he says that there are plenty of shooting ranges in South Central. There are really not many shooting ranges, and those that exist generally have hours and restrictions that make shooting there difficult. Now is the time to develop more ranges in the Mat Su. There will never be a time that will be easier to site a range, as the population grows, there is going to be more NIMBY as well as more people wanting to shoot.
    I don't know of anywhere local that allows you to shoot hunting rifles for free, other than off Maud. The Susitna Long range one on the Parks is nice, but quite a bit of a drive. I would love to see Brad's List of shooting ranges within the Valley/Anchorage area. (southcentral is too big, I'm not driving to Homer or Soldotna either)

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    We used to enjoy shooting and sighting our rifles in at Peterson creek jus south of girdwood. Until some asshats shot the tracks and caused some problems and they shut it down. There is still the ol DOT gravel pit at six mile. But that's a drive



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    I was lucky enough to attend a meeting last week where the Maud Road range was discussed. There is a plan in 'motion' to improve this area and hopefully make it a little more safe. One of the challenges that I see is changing the attitudes of those that use this area. Changes will be forth coming as the range gets developed. There is also a plan to help keep the area cleaned up, but again it will take all to make this happen.
    As to the use of 'young men with guns' I find this term very demeaning. It is not just 'young men with guns' but people of all ages/walks of life, that use this area. Yes there are slobs that abuse the shooting area and those are the ones that need to be helped in understand what they are doing is not the way to act. We need areas that people can go to shoot and I am all for making this area safer to use.
    I wonder if the author was a enough of a stand up person to contact Wildlife Protection when he observed spawning salmon being shot at? If he did not, then he is just a responsible as those doing the shooting. In the 30+ years that we have used this area, we have contacted the Troopers and Wildlife protection several times. That is just one way that we help to protect the area that we live and play in.

  10. #10

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    Yes,

    This has been beat to death on the Forums.

    You may not agree with the suggested solution, but the writer is just repeating very, very well-documented and ongoing problems. However, he could have easily included some identifiable Old Men as being a part of the root problem, too.

    Until there is a constant law enforcement /management presence on Maud Rd. and elsewhere in the overrun South Central Outdoor Ghetto (KRPUA), these issues will continue to arise at untenable frequency. Idiots have outnumbered the do-gooders for decades, and I have literally lost track of how many crimes (including poaching) I have reported in that area.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK Bearcat View Post
    I was lucky enough to attend a meeting last week where the Maud Road range was discussed. There is a plan in 'motion' to improve this area and hopefully ...........................
    Attend enough meetings of that ilk (good on you for doing so) over a long period of time and one develops a thorough understanding of the fine art of placation.
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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    This writer is clearly scared of people with guns. People using a designated area for shooting is part of public land use. Plus, if people are drinking and shooting there subjecting themselves to the law and are irresponsible gun owners and shouldnít be using there firearms.
    However, people do need to clean up there mess. The range on the Turnagain arm was shut down for this very reason. The forest serves took a bobcat back there and filled two medium sized dumpsters up with garbage, propane tanks, washers, brass and much much more. There was so much brass on the ground, your feet didnít touch the dirt. The Maud road range is heading that way. I donít want to see it closed and Iím sure you guys donít ether. REMEMBER!! Your Momma doesnít work there. Clean your $#!% UP!!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunt&FishAK View Post
    We used to enjoy shooting and sighting our rifles in at Peterson creek jus south of girdwood. Until some asshats shot the tracks and caused some problems and they shut it down. There is still the ol DOT gravel pit at six mile. But that's a drive
    Hunt&FishAK, I thought this too, but I know the guys how work that section of track and he said that if the track had been shot, he would of had to replace that section of track and he has never replace the track there. The photo you may have seen was from some where else. It was a manager for the ARRC how made up the story because he didn't want people crossing the track and the Forest Serves jumped on board because of the mess left behind by the shooters.

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    There is a segment of the population that believes reliving decades old incidents is the way to make people believe there is a big problem at Jim Creek. They know that when the bulk of the population sees that Jim Creek (KRPUA) is all around better than it has been in years they may have to quit complaining about everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASUS-DAG View Post
    There was so much brass on the ground, your feet didnít touch the dirt. The Maud road range is heading that way. I donít want to see it closed and Iím sure you guys donít ether. REMEMBER!! Your Momma doesnít work there. Clean your $#!% UP!!!!
    I don't mind them leaving the brass, it's free for me

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    I made a trip out to the shooting area on Maud road this afternoon. There were about 5-6 vehicles there with people shooting. They all appeared to be behaving their selves and stopped shooting when some one wanted to change/set targets. Some of the 'mess has been cleaned up a little, but that is not to say that everything has been picked up. Yes there was some brass and shotgun shells laying around, but I did not attempt to clean any up with people shooting. They might want their brass. That will be for another day.

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    Anybody that wants to can go to Maud road and help clean up. Most of the time there are too many folks shooting to get forward of the line for clean up. Last fall Smitty, myself and my oldest son went out and removed a pickup load of trash. This is not just some spot people have chosen to shoot but is an official range area for KRPUA. It has not yet been developed but the plans have been completed. Now funding is being looked for and when developed the actual shooting area will be barely visible, if at all, from the road. Removing the trash is simple enough if enough folks will help. Removing the fears of folks like Brad isn't going to happen as these folks are afraid of their own shadow and will make up stories to prove their fear. We do however need to keep the place clean even if it means cleaning up after slobs. Let me know when the next cleanup is as I'm glad to help.

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    rbuck,

    Having personally narrowly dodged lead on three distinct occasions in the Knik (once with my 13 yr. old stuffed down on the ground behind a lg. cottonwood for cover, me yelling and firing my own weapon to get the perp's attention), it is irksome to see someone accused of 'making up stories' and 'afraid of their own shadow'. Others I know have had like experiences, such as my friend mushing his dogs out across the far end of Mud Lk. with some fool setting his targets on the rise at the landing and slinging lead his way.

    I agree with much you say, but it might be best to put conjecture aside. Just sayin'.

    P.S. - What happened to the additional $400 K - any idea? Some NRA money was spent initially, too.

    KRPUA = 5 years, 5 Managers (including the acting interim between).
    "Punish the monkey - let the organ grinder go" - Mark Knopfler

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Echo View Post
    There is a segment of the population that believes reliving decades old incidents is the way to make people believe there is a big problem at Jim Creek. They know that when the bulk of the population sees that Jim Creek (KRPUA) is all around better than it has been in years they may have to quit complaining about everything.
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    It is now and has been for some time illegal to target shoot anywhere in the KRPUA other than the authorized range area. So target shooting is already banned in all but a very small section of the KRPUA. I personally have never seen anyone standing at the bullet impact area of the range shooting toward the parking area. So, the article is indicating the whole KRPUD is filled with young men with guns shooting up the whole of the KRPUA, NOT. This guy wants to shut down this range because people are afraid to drive past the range to get to the KRPUA, NOT. You say you were fired at on three occasions and don't doubt that. What I do doubt is that it occured at the range. If it didn't happen at the range it was already illegal before he even pointed in your direction or it happened some time back before the range area even existed. Brad says that this range prevents most folks from enjoying the other 99+% of the KRPUA. I believe that to be pure BS. On any given weekend in the summer I would estimate that 1000+ people use the KRPUA. During fishing season, more than that. So if most of the people that want to use it don't because of the range, there must be a whole lot of folks staying home instead of listening to the peace and quiet of several hundred 4wheelers and motorcycles screaming around the pristine wilderness. I think a lot of those KRPUA users don't even know the range exists let alone are afraid of it. Keep in mind that when Brad gets done with the guns he will move on to the noisey 4 wheelers and 1968 Broncos. Yep, you are in his sights as well. This guy wants pristine wilderness area which already exist by the millions of acres. I say back off this one little area for the noisey crowd and chip in and help clean it from the slobs that are using it as well. The problem with the pristine folks is they are greedy and want it all. The atv riders want a small bit of land and the shooters want a very small bit of that. Yes these are public lands and believe it or not shooters, fishermen, horse riders snow machiners and atv riders are part of the public as well. Where if not here is our piece. All most all of the land north of Fairbanks or west of Anchorage is pristine wilderness. How much more does Brad need? He couldn't walk through it all in one lifetime now. If the 3 or so ranges in the Anchorage area are enough for the 300,000 or so residents in the area then a couple of acres in Russian Jack park should be enough for Brad and there is no shooting at all alowed there. Brad, these are public lands and we the shooters, riders and such welcome you to share it with us. You too 68 Bronco. I'll admit the range has not progressed much, but with the folks like Brad around wanting it all, there is no wonder.

    By the way , the whole earth is contaminated with lead. As a matter of fact little of the lead on Earth came from anywhere else. Should we dig it all up and shoot it into space. His article is shot full of half truths.

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