Barnstable County Reaffirms Opposition to Machine Gun Range

Potential location for the Joint Base machine gun range. Town of Barnstable

HYANNIS – Barnstable County officials have reaffirmed their opposition to Joint Base Cape Cod’s proposed machine gun range.

Board of Regional Commissioners Chair Mark Forest said an updated letter was in need, with a new administration gearing up under Gov. Maura Healey.

Forest added that the Public Land Preservation Act, passed since the project was first proposed, would prevent the range being built in the conservation area.

“Since back in September 2021, there has been new legislation enacted into law that protects Article 97 land. The reserve is Article 97 land—it is state designated conservation land. So any significant changes require the approval of the legislature.”

A key point of contention for opponents of the range has been its location: just above the Cape’s Sole Source Aquifer.

“Underneath the reserve is the largest freshwater aquifer on Cape Cod. So the drinking water for Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, Sandwich, Barnstable and Yarmouth all flow from the reservoir that is beneath that property. And that particular range is in the middle of the highest most point,” said Forest 

The range proposal is under review by the Environmental Protection Agency, which was delayed last year.

Joint Base officials said that the proposed range would cut down on money and time required to train soldiers, as they would not need to travel to off-Cape sites already equipped for machine gun training. 

They also said the range would have no significant impact on the surrounding environment.

The Association to Preserve Cape Cod also recently reaffirmed its stance on the gun range project

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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