Shooting Range Set To Come Online Soon North Of The Acreage

The Palm Beach County Sports Park is currently under construction north of The Acreage. Photo courtesy Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.

One of the state’s largest shooting ranges is scheduled to come online by late spring with the completion of the Palm Beach County Sports Park north of The Acreage.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission broke ground for the long-planned shooting range in September 2016 after working out a land trade for the 150-acre parcel between Palm Beach County and the South Florida Water Management District.

The shooting range will be similar to others throughout the state, and it will be the only public shooting range in the county, although there is a shooting range near 20-Mile Bend operated by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office that is open to the public periodically.

The park will be one of the largest ranges in the state, with five rifle and handgun ranges, five Olympic trap fields, six American trap fields, nine skeet fields and a 14-station sporting clays course.

Construction on the restrooms, administrative building and supporting structures is underway. As soon as permitting is obtained, bid winner Leisure Construction will begin work on the trap and skeet fields and complete the 200-yard and 300-yard rifle ranges. A timeline for completing the rifle and handgun ranges will be available in May.

The facility will have a six-position, 300-yard rifle range; a 20-position, 200-yard rifle range; 20-position, 100-yard rifle range; a 42-position, 25/50-meter rifle/handgun range; a 30-position, 10-meter/50-foot handgun range; an automated 14-station sporting clays course; an automated five-stand sporting clays field; nine automated skeet fields; six automated American trap fields; and five automated international Olympic trap fields.

The rifle and handgun ranges will be supervised by range safety officers and volunteers.

Target frames on the rifle and handgun ranges will be provided. Shooters will need to bring their own targets to attach to the center of the frames, or they will be able to purchase targets in the concession store.

The concession store will have restrooms and drinking water, eye and ear protection, ammunition and other convenience items for sale. Rental shotguns and clay carts will be available for the sporting clays course.

Phase I construction was completed in June 2017, with site work on the west side of the complex, including the rifle and handgun ranges. The shooting lines and safety baffling were completed for the 30-position, 10-meter/50-foot handgun range; the 42-position, 25/50-meter handgun range; and the 20 position, 100-yard rifle range.

Phase II construction was awarded to MJC Construction of Royal Palm Beach, which consisted of clearing the remaining 150-acre site, completing stormwater retention controls, and installing the remaining roads, parking, sporting clays course and major utilities.

“As soon as the supporting structures are built, we should be able to open the handgun and rifle ranges,” FWC Construction Manager Dean Stoddard said

Site work also was completed for the 200-yard and 300-yard rifle ranges. The shooting lines and safety baffling for these ranges is budgeted for completion later.

The project is supported with funding from the Wildlife Restoration Program. Additional support and funding is being provided by Palm Beach County, the National Rifle Association, the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District.

The facility is located at the north end of Seminole Pratt Whitney Road, near the entrance to the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and the Everglades Youth Conservation Center Camp.

According the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, recreational shooting is big business in Florida, where 32.5 percent of all Floridians own a firearm. More than 1.5 million Floridians have a concealed carry permit and nearly 900,000 Floridians participate in recreational target shooting. The state’s sporting arms and ammunition industry supports 14,850 jobs and generates $695 million in wages and $2.4 billion in total annual output.