New rifle range to open this weekend in Spring Valley after long delay

The Class A pistol and rifle range at Spring Valley Wildlife Shooting Range will open Saturday after more than a year of being closed.

The facility, at 3450 Houston Road, was closed to accommodate $5.5 million worth of renovations and improvements on the property. The Class C shotgun range and Class D archery ranges at Spring Valley Wildlife Area reopened on Aug. 22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The pistol and rifle range will open at 9 a.m., an ODNR spokeswoman said.

The rifle range firing line was significantly updated, said Kathy Garza-Behr, an ODNR spokeswoman.

New overhead covers and new shooting benches were installed. A new berm was added so that shorter 25-yard or 100-yard distances can be fired from several of the same shooting positions. The 25-, 50- and 100-yard firing lines are now separated. Security features that were already in place have been expanded and upgraded, like cameras for the ranges. The rifle range was opened later than the other ranges to make sure safety measures were fully implemented, she said.

“The shotgun and archery range were ready to go so they were opened to allow the public to get ready for archery season and also enjoy some clay target shooting,” Garza-Behr said.

Garza-Behr said there are over 30,000 visitors to the Spring Valley range annually.

The rifle range was originally set to be completed by July 2019, but excessive rains at the time caused construction delays. In August 2019, an ODNR official told the Dayton Daily News the plan was to re-open by October 2019.

Additionally, a new entrance that can be used year-round was built. The old entrance had a very steep hill that would have to be closed for snow or ice conditions, said Kathy Garza-Behr. Parking spots were added in the parking lot.

Improvements were also made to the archery range adding static targets, a broad-head shooting pit and a utility pole to practice tree stand shooting. The walking trail range was not updated, but targets were, Garza-Behr said.

A new range master building was built at the firing line, which gives better visibility for the range safety officer. A new Outdoor Education Center was also constructed. The center will be used for things like hunting and trapping classes, deer processing or indoor archery. This building will also be used for equipment storage, Garza-Behr said.

“All indications are that our shooters are returning and are very excited to have the range open once again. We had a busy month on the shotgun range and the archery range is also seeing participation,” she said.

In May, the state reopened three shooting ranges after closing them all down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The range in Spring Valley was not one of them.

Xenia-based R Sutherland Construction is the contractor on the Spring Valley shooting range project. It was paid for through federal Pittman-Robertson wildlife conservation funds.

Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All shooting stops at 4:40 p.m. Visitors to the range are required to sign in at the Outdoor Education Center.

The ODNR is encouraging visitors to the range to wear a mask and social distance.

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