Trap and skeet enthusiasts have a new range to visit now that the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center (CEWC) Shotgun Range officially opened Tuesday, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wildlife Resources Division.
Speaking at the range’s dedication, Georgia DNR Commissioner Mark Williams said, “The shooting sports are safe, high-quality activities for families to enjoy. The Wildlife Resources Division’s program helps cultivate a life-long love of shooting and fosters a sense of conservation for generations to come.”
The new range, which consists of a skeet range, trap range and 5-stand opportunities, is one of 18 shooting ranges (rifle or shotgun) currently available on public land in Georgia. Funding for the range came from the Federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the National Rifle Association, Breedlove Land Planning, Inc., and Gay Construction Co.
The NRA contributed $25,000 for the range through a grant awarded through the NRA Public Range Fund Grant Program. The fund was started in 2009 to address the lack of public shooting ranges nationwide. Through this matching-grant program, NRA is working with city and county governments and state and federal agencies to build and improve public shooting ranges across the country.
Since 2009, the program has awarded 20 grants totaling $493,230 to build new public ranges in 13 states (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming).
“The NRA is very proud to be a partner in this endeavor to provide opportunities for the shotgun shooters of the state,” said Brian Hyder, NRA Eastern Regional Director. “The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has shown their commitment to the shooting sports as exemplified by this wonderful facility at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center. Thousands of participants will enjoy this shotgun range, and we are particularly excited about the young people who will break their first clay target here, setting them on a lifelong path of shooting sports enjoyment.
“The NRA’s Public Range Grant Program and our $25,000 contribution served as an important cornerstone for this facility. We are proud to share in the success of this project and look forward to partnering with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources on the next one.”
In attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony were representatives from funding partners and several distinguished guests, including:
-- Dennis Pitts, Field Representative for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle
-- Rep. Susan Holmes, House District 125
-- Brian Hyder, NRA Eastern Regional Director
-- Tom Gay, Gay Construction Co.
-- Mike Breedlove, Breedlove Land Planning, Inc.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the shooting sports generate more than $478 million dollars in economic impact and more than 1,700 jobs in Georgia.
The new shotgun range is located adjacent to CEWC’s 50- and 100-yard rifle/pistol ranges. The address of the facility is 543 Elliott Trail, Mansfield, Ga., 30055. The range will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Range users can purchase a round of 25 for $6.25 (purchases can be made at the CEWC Visitors Center).
Use of this range requires possession of a Georgia Outdoor Recreational Pass (GORP) or other qualifying license prior to use. Visit www.georgiawildlife.com/Georgia-Outdoor-Recreational-Pass for more details. Be sure you have the appropriate license before visiting.
To learn more about the area, visit www.charlieelliott.org. For information on all of Georgia’s public ranges (archery, rifle, shotgun), visit www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/archery-shooting-ranges.
For more information on the NRA Public Range Fund Grant Program or to apply for a grant, please visit www.nrahq.org/shootingrange/public_range_grants.asp. An applicant must be a city or county government or state or federal agency that plans to build or improve, or is currently building or improving, a public shooting facility.