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Volunteers step in to clean up popular shooting range

  • 4/21/2020 12:42:00 PM
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Swisher, Iowa - One of Iowa’s most heavily used shooting ranges was the recipient of a cleanup project led by volunteers who stepped in after the local range manager was sidelined with a non-work related injury.

The Hawkeye Wildlife Area shooting range, between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, is a popular destination for avid target shooters who come to sharpen their skills and site in their rifles. The range consists of three separate ranges – a 100 yard range, a 50 yard range and a 25 yard range. Range rules require users to clean up after themselves and to take out what they bring in.

“Unfortunately, people don’t follow the rules,” said local wildlife biologist Steve Woodruff.

With the range manager down and the trash piling up, Woodruff contacted Adam Pinckney, with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Iowa Chapter, who had approached him a year earlier offering his members as volunteers to help maintain public wildlife areas.

“When I reached out to Adam to discuss the project, he jumped on it,” Woodruff said.

On April 10, Woodruff closed the range from 8 a.m. to noon, to allow Pinckney, and fellow Backcountry Hunters and Anglers members Brian Shirk and Jeff Karr, to get to work. They were joined in the clean up by Mike Baker who had come out to shoot.

In four hours, the volunteers removed four truckloads of garbage, spent shell casings, trash and other junk from the range.

“They did an exceptional job and we can’t thank them enough,” Woodruff said.