Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area Shooting Range Closed Pending Repairs
Upgrades and replacement of aging infrastructure are major factors in the decision to temporarily close the shooting range at Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area in Northwest Arkansas. The public range will remain closed until all safety concerns can be addressed. The estimated date of re-opening is between 9-12 months from now.
State Park staff, along with Arkansas Game & Fish personnel, are continuing to evaluate and weigh the options of how to make the necessary improvements and operational modifications.
“The time range for completion will vary based on the ultimate route chosen moving forward,” said State Parks Chief Planner Jordan Thomas. “Our staff is evaluating additional grant funding sources to help fund the project.”
The most outstanding safety issues are:
- Replace the Action Target Capture system – a clam shell piece of heavy metal equipment that visitors shoot into. Now going into its 16th year, it is showing structural failures from aging and prolonged use.
- Pistol Use – this range was designed for rifles, but increased use of pistols has created potential hazards. Alternatives are being considered to address this concern.
- Staffing – this is an unmanned range and experts recommend using rangers and perhaps trained volunteers to monitor range usage and provide assistance as needed.
“Our staff regularly checks in on the shooting range when it is open,” said Superintendent Mark Clippinger. “However, we are always exploring ways to improve safety throughout the park. This is one of those areas.”
The management of the range will be evaluated for a more effective use of this public space. To date, Arkansas State Parks has spent almost $600k on construction, general maintenance, improvements and repairs to the range.
About Arkansas State Parks
Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark and 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places.
The state parks have 1,800 camp sites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.