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Thread: 36 Mi. Chena Hot Springs Rd. Shooting Range

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    Default 36 Mi. Chena Hot Springs Rd. Shooting Range

    I'm planning to take my youngest son out shooting this afternoon, once we near our high temps for the day.

    Has anyone recently used the CHSR 36 mile shooting range? Plowed? Better kept up than the South Cushman nightmare?

    We ceased using South Cushman for the most part, years ago (for very specific and pertinent reason), and while I wouldn't have hesitated to shoot on my property safely years before, the fact that our rural subdivision is growing, and bullets flying, even when flying safely, in a suburban (rural) subdivision, somewhat understandably make some folks nervous, when they can't see the trajectory, and don't really know who's shooting.

    So, if you have pertinent info re. the shooting range in question (36 mi. CHSR), please post here, and if you're willing, please send me a PM, as I'm more apt to catch that message quickly, without having to utilize ACS' incredibly slow, snails-knitting-sweaters-hats-gloves-and-mittens 56k dial-up (with incredible aerial span of two-strand), as it relates to this fairly active site.

    Thanks in advance.

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    Well, after not receiving any feedback re. the shooting range at 36 mi. CHSR, I drove out there with my son. Access was primarily packed down trail in, but sufficient to not get stuck or really need 4x4. Just avoid the soft stuff in the middle and the edges of the trail.

    The only strange interaction wasn't all that strange, and involved displacing a cow moose that was eating willow tips. No unstable types handled firearms while we were down range, as we were the only ones there. Kinda' nice that way. Really.

    But it was clear that much of the slob behavior that can be found at South Cushman also finds its way to the range at the Hot Springs Rd. Folks left blasted bowling balls there, ripped targets, empty casings galore, cardboard boxes used as targets, tattered cartridge containers and boxes, discarded debris a various sorts, some shot-to-pieces empty liquor bottles, and someone was apparently 'affected' enough by one variable or another, that they left a number of unfired .308 Winchester cartridges and a 7.62x39 hollow point, all unspent, laying on the ground. Maybe the folks who were shooting the liquor bottles?

    I suspect if you're to liquored up or otherwise affected enough to not realize you're leaving cartridges on the ground, on a snow-white surface, where they stand out really well, perhaps, just maybe, you shouldn't be handling a firearm.. Just sayin'...

    Anyway, we shot a bit from the .30-06, the sporterized and Parkerized Brit .303, and my stnls. 10mm, then packed it up.

    For those who cry about folks trying to take away their gun rights, think about the mess left behind at ranges like that one, out in the middle of a State Rec. Area. When folks engage in that kind of nonsense, they leave an ugly taste in the mouths of others, many of whom aren't all that supportive of gun ownership and target shooting/hunting anyway, and it WILL and DOES come back to bite us.

    So, after this trip out there, and seeing the mess, I told my son that there's enough evidence of litter from grown up children, that perhaps the way to handle it is to sponsor a BBQ party out there this late spring or summer, and have a clean-up party at the same time.

    And the next time you or I see someone behaving like that at a range, let them know they're making a name for the rest of the folks who engage in these activities, and tell them to grow up a decade or so before handling weaponry or mingling with the rest of the more civilized and humble world.

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    Thanks for posting. With the sunlight these days I've been getting the itch to get out shooting.

    I have people very close to me who I want to convince that most shooters/firearm enthusiasts are responsible, but I have a hard time with that with the preponderance of physical evidence which shows otherwise. What on earth is so hard about packing out what you brought in?? If you want to shoot up your old appliances, go for it! Just take them to the dump afterward....dumping is free here. I've seen way too many great shooting areas shut down because people just had to trash them.

    It would be nice to get a private rifle range here that could be monitored. I'd be willing to pay dues for that. I know what you're saying about the Cushman range.....scary!
    Louis Knapp

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    Thanks Louis.

    in between checking targets and changing out firearms and ammunition, my youngest boy spent time taking the grocery bag the targets had been given to us in, and picked up a reasonable amount of others' litter, including a chunk or two of the bowling ball. (*I suspect there's still prints from who ever deposited it there, as well as on other items, if the Troopers wanted to engage in some knock and talks with poorly reared folks, but I suspect the State's a bit broke for such efforts these days).

    The range there pretty much ends at the 100 yard mark, at the base of the north hill, and if you're using the three visible (not buried by snow) shooting rests; most or all of which had been penetrated by bullets.

    The setting was otherwise quite nice, more or less unattended by others, but for the cow moose that was there when we pulled in, and a young man from California, visiting the area, who pulled in while we were checking targets, and stayed for a time to talk, discussing safety re. crossing snow-covered creeks and rivers, and who told us about his hiking the Angel Rocks trail with snow shoes.

    34 years ago, in a barely-populated subdivision near the Tanana River, I had begun collecting a variety of firearms, including class III. I'd boot the door to my cabin open after rebuilding a bolt, or what ever, and let 'er rip. No one ever called the law, and no one ever called to complain. But those days are more or less gone now, in my opinion. Our population has doubled, and many people aren't quite as calm about such things.

    We've currently got plenty of moose burger and assorted other meats from last year's moose, so maybe when the time is right, a couple months or so from now, I'll speak with someone who has authority over that range, post a message about grilling some burgers or something out there, and a half-dozen or dozen people might make a better name for shooters in that area by putting in some effort toward a cleaner scene. I guess we'll see.

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    I live out at 21 mile and am up the road nearly daily in the summer (I fish a little), and if there are people at the range I just don't go in - there's too much bad behavior out there. And I'll add that not only does stuff like make gun owners look terrible, somebody's got to clean that up and in some cases that's the state or borough, which comes out of Alaskans' pockets. The same with the trash and toilet paper at the pullouts and trailheads. People who don't like paying taxes, and I figure that's all of us, need to clean up after ourselves.

    Anyway, count me in for a clean-up day!
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Thanks MLShore. As I don't often frequent this site any more, I'll try to remind myself to check back in and make some sort of announcement about the event, if the Borough/State permits it, and when it gets scheduled. The only real tight spot in planning such an event would be coordinating with the controlling authority(authorities), for purpose of needing to shut the place down for the event, at least for a specific duration of time that would allow folks to clean up without others being intent on shooting during the clean-up.

    30-some years ago, before it was required to have your name and such on bear-baiting stations, I used to bait black bear out near 39 mile, and have many positive memories of poor-man's (unskilled man's) fly-fishing for grayling in the ponds out there, tying a fly to a standard monofilament line, 8-10 feet below a bobber on a spin-cast reel, and hooking enough grayling for dinner.

    Many of those days are gone now, and I rarely head out that way, other than for 3-5 trips per winter on the weekdays (Tuesday or Wednesday, when the crowd there is often at a minimum) to soak my aches and pains in Bernie's Hot Springs (bought a couple of punch cards, back when he was talking about raising the prices, and they've come in handy).

    Hopefully we'll pull this off, and maybe a local sportsman's org can make some good PR out of it, too; making a statement about responsible use of ranges.

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    A brief update.

    in between chores, loading machines in prep for my son's and my annual remote trip, and other stuff, I spoke with the Ranger in charge of the 36 mi. CHSR shooting range area. He said the staff for the area is typically slim, and they welcome such ventures, having supported them before.


    I informed him that this was probably some of the lesser controversial activism I'd engaged in over the years, and as we talked briefly, the plan, or potential plans, expanded a bit.

    He stated 'we' could indeed obtain a permit to have the range ours for the day, with possible back-up days for weather issues, etc.

    I told him that a 2-4 hour clean-up, in part depending on number of participants, and ideally, to get a local sportspersons' organization to help by sponsoring the thing.

    The immediate idea is for there to be a clean-up period, then BBQ, and, as an added thought, some shooting; perhaps a kids' shooting time with .22s, etc., and maybe even work a one-or-so hour shooting clinic into it as a finale', assuming someone with such background would be willing.

    And a note for we cynics; the Ranger in question answered his forwarded call to his cell phone on his day off. That provided some additional wind in the proverbial sails.

    So, in a couple months, we should have a beneficial, multifaceted shin-dig at the 36 mi. CHSR shooting range. In the near future, when I'm not chasing my own tail quite so much, I'll try to make contact with a local group or two to see if they're interested in some positive PR, an event, and the gathering in general.

    And my wife and son are all for it.

    Back to business and chores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffle View Post
    A brief update.

    in between chores, loading machines in prep for my son's and my annual remote trip, and other stuff, I spoke with the Ranger in charge of the 36 mi. CHSR shooting range area.
    That's fantastic - thanks!
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Thanks, ruffle for getting the ball rolling on this! Keep us posted when you get a date narrowed down.
    Louis Knapp

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    You're welcome, both of you, Louis and MLShore.

    Like many 'actions' I've engage in, it often comes from being indignantly, righteously, or otherwise offended. Heck, I get a bit burned up watching folks toss cigarette butts out their windows, let alone heading out to a rural setting to try to further my son's shooting skills (having explained to him that when I'm gone and feeding the worms, it'll be up to him and his brother to fill the freezer for their mother), then finding some folks apparently feel like they have a mobile land-fill permit, simply because they shoot firearms..

    I'll try to make contact soon with a local existing group, and see if they are willing to sponsor; liability, etc., are all background realities these days in any organized event.

    Thanks again for all of your willingness. This could end up being both fun and productive.

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    I live at 20 mile chsr so count me in as well.

    I know that place can be quite flooded and swampy for the 1st month or so after break up(or all summer last year). The clean up could prove challenging if we have a wet spring, but we'll deal with that as it comes.
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    I enjoy the range out there to work reloads, I would help out. Maybe a camp out and cook and if we all want to clean up a bit in our free time???
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    Thanks again, Iceman and stid.

    Many hands make for less labor all around.

    I made contact with a member of a local well-established sportsperson's organization, and they plan to relay my inquiry to the President/Chair of their organization, and, possibly, ultimately their Board of Directors. Should/may hear back shortly.

    The person/chair/president being asked is also reportedly a shooting instructor who teaches youngsters marksmanship skills, etc, so it potentially furthers the idea of having a shooting clinic as a sort of finale'; whether specifically for youth, or for all interested parties.

    If the idea flies, we'll need to organize an adequate sized grill, or even two, and transport of such, depending on level of interest (and depending on fire hazard, and the State/Borough not restricting outdoor fires/grilling). Alternative arrangement for 'eats' would need to be made in the event of a fire-hazard shut-out for grilling.

    As far as things to grill or eat, one way to make sure no one thaws 50 lbs. of meat, only to find a half-dozen folks show up, is to ask those who are able, to donate enough of their favorite meat or dish to feed 4-6 persons. Then if it's under-attended, folks go home with just enough left-overs to make the next day or two manageable.

    One question posed to the organization's representatives/board will have to do with sponsorship as it relates to insurance. Activities for members may not be an issue, but at the moment, It's unclear as to non-members being covered. I told the person I spoke with that if the dues are low enough (and I'm told they are) they may (as a residual result) end up with a bunch of new members for what may or may not be a limited period of time. (*Apparently there are some perks to membership, too).

    More later, I'm sure..

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    I spoke with Grant Lewis yesterday, President of Tanana Valley Sportsmen's Association, and he agreed that if I would accept the organizing position (which I wouldn't mind volunteer assistance with), that TVSA would sponsor the effort; the word 'leader' frightens me a bit. 'Organizer' or 'Coordinator' is less intimidating... Especially if the word 'Assistant' is placed in front of either of those words.

    We talked specific objectives, such as picking dates by which the more damp areas at the range would be as dry as they might become (with the possibility of advising folks to bring rubber/mud/extra-tuff boots). D

    We discussed BBQ grills (obviously, if there's only a half-dozen participants, then a single grill will likely suffice). We also talked about back-up plans for hot chow if outdoor fires (to include grilling) are shut down due to fire hazard.

    We talked about the possibility of establishing a camping area between the range area and the outhouses, in the grassy higher ground near the gravel pit, though I will need to discuss this with Ranger Happ, -IF- it's decided that participants are in favor of an over-night.

    Obviously folks will independently commit to what ever portion of this they deem comfortable or 'doable.'

    Lastly, Grant agreed to hold some sort of shooting clinic with .22 or other rifles, especially for youngsters; probably a brief 1-2 hour mini-course, to cover basic and intermediate sorts of marksmanship issues, especially for youngsters (and oldsters) simply wanting to improve their current shooting skills.

    We agreed that an ultimate push for participants, via email messaging and flyers might best occur approximately 2 weeks before the activity, with planning getting more refined over time before that.

    If possible, I'd like to see one or two folks agree to bring one or two of those 10'x10' or 10'x20' (or approximate) portable shelters to stake down there, for folks to put folding or other picnic tables under, in the event that weather becomes a barrier to plopping down on the wet ground and eating.

    We both agreed that if we do have to go to a back-up date due to weather (or ???) that the second run at many projects like this often end with dampened spirits re. follow-up (no pun intended), and if we were to forfeit the initial date, that would be an additional hurdle to overcome.

    So, for those who live closer to the site, if you'd start contemplating what might be a good date(s) to put forth to Ranger Happ as a prospective date(s) for such an event, as well as a back-up date (with focus given to when it's most apt to be dryer than not, but not too awful late into the season), please chime in.

    And bear in mind that this will probably be during early summer, in the midst of wetlands, gravel pits, creeks and rivers, so there's most likely going to be squadrons of skeeters present. Though I rarely use bug dope, we'll probably bring plenty, just in case it becomes necessary.

    A name for the event might also come in handy. I thought about something like 'The TVSA 36 mile Chena Hot Springs Road Clear the Range Event.' But others may have better ideas. Please post them, and any other ideas, info, etc.

    That's pretty much the state of planning thus far. Maybe, if successful, it could become a yearly thing even; once a year for a clean-up, gathering, shooting, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffle View Post
    So, for those who live closer to the site, if you'd start contemplating what might be a good date(s) to put forth to Ranger Happ as a prospective date(s) for such an event, as well as a back-up date (with focus given to when it's most apt to be dryer than not, but not too awful late into the season), please chime in.
    I tend to think mid-to-late May might be good - before Memorial Day weekend. But to be honest I'm expecting breakup to be hellacious this year with the possibility of extremely high water in May. That road back to the range can get kind of boggy.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    I can get back there and have a pac-rat trailer to haul out trash.

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    Thanks, mlshore.

    I'm thinking that with the amount of snow, and the reportedly damp condition of that area in general, that later May would be the earliest, though to avoid the Memorial Day rush and crowd, what do you think about the first week of June, or so?

    And stid, your generous offer would provide the ability to haul out trash in volume, assuming there's sufficient barrier to regular vehicles getting back in there without making a mess of things.

    I try to be a believer in natural homeostasis, and that if we've had a better-than-fair amount of precipitation in winter, then hopefully things will equal out, and we might have a nice dry spring and, for the first time in a few years, what used to be a 'typically dry summer.' <Fingers crossed...>

    So, aiming for either the week-end preceding Memorial Day week-end, or the week-end following Memorial Day, might be the best two initial target dates?

    Any ideas re. the portable shelters/car-ports/screen houses?

    Grant Lewis had offered access to/provision of a couple smaller grills, and I have an older derelict behemoth of a charcoal grill that would suffice if necessary. I suspect getting grills, etc., out to that area means strapping them down sufficiently to get through the many areas of frost-heaves along the way.

    If returns are positive in response to the requests, and 20 volunteers showed up, I could see a concerted 2-4 hours spent cleaning up the area. If clean-up activities started at 11:00 A.M. or noon, then that'd leave ample time to picnic, fish (if they still permit such efforts in the Chena drainage; haven't checked the regulations for that area in many years now), visit, sit by a fire (if they're not banned), hike, etc., as well as the shooting clinic.

    I'll post my cell phone in the emails and flyers as time nears.

    Thanks again to all who are willing to make this effort. Leaving a place better than we found it is something I think folks can find some amount of pride in.


    Thanks.

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    Spoke again with Grant Lewis of TVSA a few days ago. He said TVSA has one of the portable shelters/car ports measuring about 10'x10' and that they could probably lend the shelter to the effort.

    So now we're still going to want to have a second similar shelter or screen house(s) available, and hopefully some portable picnic tables to put under them in case it rains.

    Holding off for a bit re. contacting Ranger Happ to reserve the area, as it's still a good while until the event would take place.

    Still looking at the week-end immediately preceding Memorial Day, or the week-end immediately after.

    Agreed there will be some advance planning and organizational e-mails being sent out by TVSA, then the final invitation e-mails a couple weeks (+/-) before the event.

    Stay tuned.

    And thanks in advance to those who've agreed thus far to take part, as well as those who've agreed to provide various equipment to make the effort easier..

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    Upon returning home two days ago, after being gone for about a week, I received a reply from Ranger Dane Happ. He advises that the date we select be sometime in later June, in order to better assure a (hopefully) dryer setting.

    He further stated that the Park's picnic tables are not movable, so any tables used would be anchored where they are. On that note, he added that we could use the grassy area between the parking area/outhouses and the shooting range for camping, but could also gather the tents, etc., at the 36.5 mile camping area.

    He stated (Park personnel?) were all very supportive of the idea of a combined camp-out, cleaning party, picnic and shooting clinic.

    He is willing to section off the road into the shooting area for our efforts, but not the entire area at the 36-mi. pull-off... if I read his note correctly.

    So, before we select a date, I need to make sure that everyone who has agreed to take part can still do so, including Grant Lewis and TVSA folks, if we move the date(s) to the end of June.

    Please reply as to whether a week-end in later June still works for you.

    Right now the only dates I have scheduled as out of the NSB area are in mid-July for some semi-remote lakes in the Yukon Territory, and probably sometime between mid-June and early July for Chitina.

    Thanks everyone for your patience in this, and for your willingness to help to have a positive impact on the 36 mile shooting range, improving the impression shooters leave on others who also utilize that area.
    Last edited by ruffle; 04-08-2017 at 13:41. Reason: Correcting formatting and typos

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruffle View Post
    Please reply as to whether a week-end in later June still works for you.
    I'm in and out of town a lot for work but right now should be around in late June. If you'd like I can also try to round up some Two Rivers folks.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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