Chena shooting range

The Chena River State Recreation Area shooting range, covered in trash, photographed in the summer. Parks staff said this is the main reason that a gate was erected to restrict access. 

The Division of Parks and Outdoor Rec is looking for public opinion on the future management of the shooting range at Chena River State Recreation Area. The division was prompted to seek input via an online survey, after the erection of a gate restricting vehicular access to the range prompted public outcry earlier this year.

The gate was installed June 13 at the recreation area located at mile 36.4 Chena Hot Springs Road. After receiving complaints from locals who accused the park of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation held a couple of public meetings over the matter and has now uploaded an online survey to gauge the public’s views on what to do with the area.

“We’ll take in all the survey data and take a look at it and see what the public really want,” said Northern Region State Parks Superintendent Brooks Ludwig. “We will discuss it at our (State Parks) advisory board meeting as well and get a sense from our advisory board what the state should do next.”

The shooting range was established in the early 1970s, and is managed by Alaska State Parks. With a tight budget and reduced staffing levels, the division can no longer keep the site safe or well maintained, according to a news release. The division is using the survey to seek public input to help guide future management decisions for the facility.

You can take the survey here: bit.ly/33kob0D. The deadline for responses is December 31.

Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.