Shooting sports park closed due to safety concerns

Most of the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park is closed pending a safety investigation, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Most venues at the Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park have been closed pending a safety investigation.

The Shooting Sports Park is closed pending a safety investigation, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News
The Shooting Sports Park is closed pending a safety investigation, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 28, 2014 | Photo by Julie Applegate, St. George News

County and city officials met Thursday to discuss a recent increase in the number of bullet strikes and spent rounds discovered in areas near the popular Purgatory gun range, according to a news release issued by Washington County Administrator Dean Cox.

The meeting included members of the Washington County Commission, Sheriff Cory Pulsipher, Hurricane Mayor John Bramall, Hurricane Police Chief Lynn Excel and representatives of the Shooting Sports Park Special Service District, the release said.

“We are seeking the publics’ support in respecting this temporary safety closure and ask that anyone observing solo-shooting or other questionable activity at the range, to please report it to area law enforcement officials,” the release said.

In the meeting, all sides pledged to work together to ensure the safety of both the general public and guests and participants at the Shooting Sports Park.

Pending evaluation of the facility by ballistic and range experts, all shooting venues except for the shotgun and archery venues are now closed. Some previously scheduled events will be allowed under careful supervision, the release said.

The Shooting Sports Park will remain closed while the safety study is conducted, and until any needed improvements are made.

No unauthorized shooting will be allowed. A no-trespassing policy has been adopted effective immediately, and area law enforcement officials have been asked to strictly enforce it, the release said. Officials are working as quickly as possible to ensure the park’s safe reopening as soon as practical.

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  • tcrider November 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I do not see how it could be physically possible for a bullet fired from the range area to hit any private residence in any direction from the range. This does not make any sense what so ever, unless this complaint is being manufactured from residents from the other side of ridge, possibly some gun haters trying to close down the range.

  • beentheredonethat November 20, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Nowhere in the article are private residence s mentioned.

  • wilbur November 20, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Article does not say homes were struck, just that “bullet strikes and spent rounds discovered in areas near the popular Purgatory gun range”. What the bullets struck could be buildings, vehicles or anything unless further information is forthcoming in the investigation. A small fraction of bullets can ricochet from rocks behind rifle and pistol targets, and this might be the source. It seems, at best, a really, really slim chance that a bullet ricochets up and over the ridge to strike a home on the distant far side, but then again, anything is possible. (I’ve only used the 100-200 yard rifle/pistol range, and am impressed with the safe operation conducted there, but can not speak for the action-pistol areas.)

  • .... November 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Well the first clue is. Politicians are involved !

  • Kelly November 21, 2015 at 7:28 am

    One of those stray bullet hit a mail box at my work that is a about a mile away.

    • tcrider November 21, 2015 at 8:59 am

      How do you know the bullet was from the range? You are probably more upset about the noise from the range, or you really are not employed near the area and are rather one of the home owners from the other side of the ridge and are really more upset about the noise and are making up stories to try and get the range closed.

    • .... November 21, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      I think your mail box was a victim of a international conspiracy with global terrorism of unknown capabilities. Your mail box was probably the first target of an all out anti American campaign to take a strike against freedom. You should contact the NSA and CIA and FBI and OSS and maybe send an email to Scotland Yard. In the meantime you should look into having your mailbox being relocated into the witness protection program and placed in protected custody. this scratch on your mailbox Will be the shot heard across the free world…May God help us all ..

  • Not_So_Much November 21, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I am a safety officer at Red Cliffs Rifle and Pistol Range (RCRP). When I moved to Washington County I found the range to be extremely well run, with SAFETY being the top priority. I hope that St George News will do it’s own investigation and inform the public of the fine facilities and the proper use of firearms that happen there. Pictures of the extensive baffle system would show that this range is designed to stop any possibility of a shot going off the range. The tall dirt berms (embankments) stop bullets once they are fired. The range spent a great deal of money in the past two years to place clean dirt and removing rocks to increase safety.

    The physical attributes of the rifle and pistol range are only part of the safety first policy. Most importantly, when open to the public (see the web site for hours, there are AT A MINIMUM 2 range safety officers(RSO). These RSO have been trained to the NRA standards of range safety and will be on duty, on the firing line for the public safety . In addition to those two individuals, another person is in the office so that the RSO can concentrate on their duties. Often there is more than the minimum on duty. These individuals are there to promote the safe use of firearms because they want to be there. Red Cliffs Rifle and Pistol Range is an all volunteer, non profit association of people who enjoy spreading the proper use firearm enjoyment and keeping safety first.

    RCRP has a history of promoting safety with hunter education classes held there, promoting scouting and other youth groups to have free use of the facility on a priority basis. I hope this questionable closure does not interfere with the State High School Rodeo Shoot next Friday. The range was starting up a NRA First Steps Class (free by the way) which have now been postponed. This class is designed for new firearm owners and users and those considering a firearm purchase.

    We live in a country, a State and a county where we have the right to own and use firearms. There are new to firearms shooters frequently at our range and the goal is to offer a safe, low cost (free for youths) place to use both rifles and pistols. The alternative for many is the open land around our communities. If I were to have any safety concerns it would be that — where I might want to hike, bike, off road or simply enjoy the beauty around us.

    With any visit to the range a fair minded individual would conclude that Red Cliffs Rifle and Pistol Range is an outstanding facility where one can bring their grandchildren to learn and practice safe shooting. I’m not familiar with operations or practices of the other venues in the 500 acre park, but with RCRP’s neighbor friendly hours of operation in addition to everything else, I fail to understand how the range was included in this closure. I hope there is a rapid resolution to this unjust action taken by some currently in a position of authority.

    • Mr. W November 21, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      I’ve been there several times to shoot. I completely agree that safety is the top priority. I too believe that this smoke show is being orchestrated by a gun hating senior living on the other side of the hill with nothing better to do than call the police when their neighbor leaves the garage door open.

  • sagemoon November 23, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Does the closure of some of the shooting park have anything to do with the loud boom by Purgatory reported last week?

    • .... November 23, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Sage. It was reported that the turtles on the turtle reserve were experiencing restless nights and interrupted eating Im sure its a lot more complicated than the federal government is allowed to inform the general public.

  • tcrider November 24, 2015 at 8:46 am

    the turtles are protected on a state level issue, not federal.
    quit trying to blame the federal government.

  • Not_So_Much December 5, 2015 at 8:49 am

    With 50+ individuals attending a public meeting of the board for the shooting park on Thursday 12/3 and SGN doesn’t mention this? I understand the Spectrum blowing it off but really, not a peep? The Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park is a location where literally thousands enjoy an activity they enjoy where, at least at Red Cliff Rifle and Pistol Range, is a safe location to do so. There is a real injustice occurring and it deserves news coverage because of the number of local and out of area citizens this impacts.

  • Not_So_Much December 6, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Thank you.

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