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Volunteers step in to clean up popular shooting range

Members with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Iowa Chapter initiated a volunteer cleanup project at the Hawkeye Wildlife Area shooting range on April 10. In four hours, the volunteers removed four truckloads of trash from the popular range. (photo courtesy of the Iowa DNR)

SWISHER– One of Iowa’s most heavily used shooting ranges was the recipient of a cleanup project led by volunteers who stepped in after the local range manager was sidelined with a non-work-related injury.
The Hawkeye Wildlife Area shooting range, between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, is a popular destination for avid target shooters to sharpen their skills and site in their rifles. The range consists of three separate ranges– a 100-yard range, a 50-yard range and a 25-yard range. Range rules require users clean up after themselves and take out what they bring in.
“Unfortunately, people don’t follow the rules,” said local wildlife biologist Steve Woodruff.
With the range manager down and the trash piling up, Woodruff contacted Adam Pinckney, with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Iowa Chapter, who approached him a year earlier offering his members as volunteers to help maintain public wildlife areas.
“When I reached out to Adam to discuss the project, he jumped on it,” Woodruff said.
On April 10, Woodruff closed the range from 8 a.m. to noon allowing Pinckney, and fellow Backcountry Hunters and Anglers members Brian Shirk and Jeff Karr to get to work. Mike Baker, who came out to shoot, joined them.
In four hours, the volunteers removed four truckloads of garbage, spent shell casings, trash and other junk from the range.
“They did an exceptional job and we can’t thank them enough,” Woodruff said.