Improvements planned for DNR shooting range

The Echo Point Shooting Range in the Allegan State Game Area. (Sept. 8, 2015)

VALLEY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — You might not notice it driving by until you hear the sound of handguns spitting out bullets or the loud bang of a muzzleloader.

The Echo Point Shooting Range on Monroe Road near Lake Allegan has been around since the 1980s. For Dan Breejem, it’s a handy spot for some afternoon target practice.

“We’re out here on our lunch hour,” he told 24 Hour News 8 on Tuesday.

But for Debra Cooper, it’s an irritant.

“Sunday, Saturday, Friday, Monday Tuesday. Every single day of the week, you hear it,” said Cooper, who lives just north of the range in the Allegan State Game Area.

Cooper moved into the home in 2006. She and her husband were aware of the range, but they “never had a clue that it would be as bad as it was,” she said.

The range has rules: Users can fire one shot at a time and no automatic weapons are allowed.

But not everyone follows those rules. The proof is all over YouTube.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which owns the range, says it has heard complaints from both shooters and neighbors and that scheduled improvements should resolve the issues.

New lanes will be put in to make shooting safer and more effective. Baffles and berms will cut down on the noise for neighbors.

Penny Melchoir, the DNR Wildlife Division field coordinator, hopes the sound reduction efforts ease some of neighbors’ concerns.

“Everybody kinds of wants their own piece of paradise,” she said. “Have some woods, be next to a game area, but then they don’t fully understand what kind of activities go on at that game area.”

But if Debra Cooper is any indication of the attitude of the neighborhood, it’s going to take a lot more convincing.

“They should spend their money and move it somewhere else and not leave it here around all the residents that live nearby,” she said.

Upgrades to the range are expected to be completed sometime next summer.

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