West Barnstable Residents Speak Out Against Shooting Range

CAPE COD WAVE image. A Barnstable police officer at the town's shooting range before it closed in 2012.

CAPE COD WAVE image.
A Barnstable police officer at the town’s shooting range before it closed in 2012.

BARNSTABLE – Residents of West Barnstable who live near the town’s shooting range have collected over 200 signatures from people in favor of moving the shooting range to a different location, one away from the conservation land in that area.

One of the residents who has helped to gather signatures in opposition to the range, Hilary Sandler, said the residents are not opposed to having a town shooting range, just not in the conservation area where people are hiking, walking dogs, and otherwise enjoying passive recreation.

She said neighbors are also concerned about environmental affects from the shooting range.

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Sandler said, “According to a Horsely and Witten [environmental consulting] report that was done in 2003, there were very high levels of lead detected in the soil and since that ’03 report the usage of the range has at least doubled. So we’re very concerned about continued contamination of the soil in the area and the fact that all of us in West Barnstable are on private drinking water wells and we are down gradient from the shooting range. Even though nothing has been detected in the groundwater yet, we have significant concerns about potential contamination in the future.”

The town’s shooting range was closed about 18 months ago after town officials discovered it was not covered under the town’s insurance policy. The insurance matter was resolved but then state officials realized that the range was located on land purchased with state funds allocated for passive conservation use, a category that the shooting range does not fall under.

The state agreed to swap land in the area of the town’s technology park in exchange for the town keeping the shooting range where it is in West Barnstable, but now neighbors of the area are objecting the reopening of the range.