The long-awaited reopening of the shooting range off Sheep Company Road near Selah finally arrived on Friday.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional lands operation manager Ross Huffman gave media a virtual tour of the site as visitors took aim and shot at new target stands for the first time. Contractors spent two months upgrading the popular area, which features a 25-yard range, a 100-yard range and a shotgun range.
Huffman said they're still waiting for benches and tables compliant with the American Disabilities Act. Those are expected to be built by Dec. 1 and should be installed immediately or in the spring by volunteers, dependent on weather.
The area will be open to the public from sunrise to sunset until seasonal restrictions start in the spring to minimize fire risk. Huffman said the gate off of Sheep Company Road won't close unless emergency restrictions call for a temporary ban on target shooting.
Staff from the Yakima Training Center offered expertise to help design the site, which was created with the help of a volunteer advisory committee that met eight times in 2017 before submitting recommendations. The wildlife department invested $430,000 into the project and volunteers helped with some of the work, including construction of the target stands.
Huffman anticipates increased enforcement at the site from wildlife officers, as well as occasional visits from Wenas Wildlife Area staff. Master Hunters have also committed to repairing target holder stands and other maintenance duties.