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Open house and public hearing set for shooting range in Columbia CountyPORTAGE, Wis. – The public is invited to an open house and public hearing on two draft documents that are part of the development of a new public shooting range on the Mud Lake Wildlife Area in the Town of Lowville, February 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Columbia County Law Enforcement Center, 711 East Cook Street, Portage.
Both documents are available for review by visiting dnr.wi.gov, and entering the search words, “Columbia County Shooting Range Proposal.” Online comments will be accepted through February 27.
The open house is scheduled for 6 to 7 p.m. Department of Natural Resources staff will be on hand to answer questions on the proposed amendment to the Columbia County Planning Group Master Plan and the Environmental Impact statement for the project.
At 7 p.m. a formal hearing on the EIS will begin.
“This is the second scheduled opportunity to provide comment before these documents are presented to the Natural Resources Board for approval at its April 8 meeting in Madison,” said Eric Lobner, a DNR wildlife supervisor for the area. “At that time the board will also take additional public comments before acting on the documents.”
Based on comments received at the first public listening session held for these documents on December 17, the layout of the range has been updated to include perimeter fencing and a gate controlling access.
The Mud Lake location for the new public shooting range was selected by an ad hoc citizens committee after reviewing the pros and cons of seven possible state-owned sites within the county and public input on two of the sites the committee felt were the best candidates.
The proposed master plan amendment is needed to reclassify approximately 10 acres of the Mud Lake WA from “habitat management area” to “special management area.” The draft EIS evaluates potential impacts to natural resources in and adjacent to the site.
“Our master planning guidelines require us to craft an amendment that reclassifies the area designated for the range to a category that allows this kind of development,” said Lobner. “The EIS identifies potential environmental impacts from the project and the significance of those impacts on habitat and area wildlife and nearby human populations.”
Following this open house and hearing and after the close of the online comment period the department will evaluate all comments and make modifications to the amendment and EIS if deemed necessary.
Persons wishing to speak to the board at their April 8 meeting must preregister with
The board liaison
- Laurie Ross
- Phone: 608-267-7420
- Eric Lobner, wildlife supervisor – (608) 275-3474
- Bob Manwell, DNR communications – (608) 275-3317