South Cushman Shooting Range sees return of public use following September reopening

South Cushman Shooting Range in Fairbanks was closed for renovations - now it's back open to the public.
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 4:45 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On May 16, the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s South Cushman Shooting Range began undergoing renovation.

This project lasted more than two months, with the area reopening to the public on August 26.

During that time, a number of improvements were made to the popular site’s facilities.

Some of these improvements increase access for persons with disabilities, including designated parking spaces, according to Trisha Levasseur, Parks Project Coordinator with the borough. “We improved the entire shooting range. Some of the things you’ll notice are a new ADA-accessible pathway from the pistol-side range all the way to the rifle range. We added a large berm in the center to divide the two sides of the range which were not divided before.”

This division could potentially allow classes to be taught at one rifle range while the other stays open for the public. It also improves public confidence in the range’s safety. “That’s a comment that we got before this project, that a lot of people felt unsafe,” Levasseur said. “So the center berm kind of helps with the capability of having safety at the range

The range now also has a restroom.

Levasseur said since the facility’s reopening, the public’s response has been largely positive. “We have received a lot of positive comments about the range and the state that it is in now compared to beforehand.”

Donnie Hayes, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department added, “Hunting is an important part of our lifestyle, and so having a gun range that’s usable, that’s clean, that’s safe, really encourages folks to come out, to test their equipment.”

Public use has returned to levels seen before the closure, with new users expressing interest as well. Hayes said, “We’re really excited to see so many more community members excited about the opportunity to use this space.”

The range is open seven days a week, and is free to use. A paved parking lot is planned for the undetermined future.