South Florida gun enthusiasts rejoice! One of the largest gun-sport parks in the Sunshine State is set to open in Palm Beach County later this year.
The Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Park is being built by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with Palm Beach County and the National Rifle Association.
“This center is being created to offer target shooting enthusiasts a place to gain skills and knowledge for safe, responsible firearms handling and target shooting,” the FWC wrote on it’s website.
The massive facility will open near the main entrance to J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area and Everglades Youth Conservation Center Camp.
“It’s going to be huge. We’ve never had anything like this before,” Chuck Papp, a manager at Delray Shooting Center, told the Sun Sentinel. “As a retailer, I have a store full of rifles and no place to shoot them. [Customers have been asking] ‘Where can I shoot outdoors?'”
“Huge” perfectly describes it. Once fully completed, the shooting menu will include:
6-position 300-yard rifle range
20-position 200-yard rifle range
20-position 100-yard rifle range
42-position 25/50-meter rifle/handgun range
30-position 10-meter/50-foot handgun range
Automated 14-station sporting clays course
Automated 5-stand sporting clays field
9 automated skeet fields
6 automated American trap fields
5 automated International (Olympic) trap fields
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the park’s restaurants, administrative buildings and restrooms are completed. Officials added that landscaping should be wrapped up this month.
The 100-yard rifle and handgun ranges will be the first to open and operate on weekends, while contractors keep working on the 200- and 300-yard shooting lines and trap and skeet fields.
This public facility is being funded by Palm Beach County, the National Rifle Association, the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida and the South Florida Water Management District.
Cost, forms of payment and hours of operation will not be revealed until the park officially opens. Shooters will have to bring their own targets for the rifle and handgun ranges or purchase some from the concession store. If parkgoers want to give clay shooting a chance, rental shotguns and clay carts will be available at the concession store. The concession store will also have drinking water, eye and ear protection, ammunition and other convenience items.
If you’ve got the itch to go shooting right now, there’s the Markham Park Target Range in Sunrise and the Trail Glades Range in West Miami-Dade.
The Markham Park Target Range has skeet and trap fields, a pistol/rifle range with 66 lighted shooting stations, a sporting clays course with 13 stations and and an archery range. The park also has a 1,400-square-foot “Shotgun Hall” that’s “suitable for meetings, parties, and other special events” and overlooks the skeet and trap fields.
The options at the Trail Glades Range include a 50-yard practical range, a 7-to-50-yard pistol range with 35 positions, a 25-to-100-yard rifle range with 32 positions and 6 trap-and-skeet fields. During tournaments the range offers 18 RV spaces with water and electrical hook-up. The Trail Glades Range requires that all first-time shooters are required to complete a safety course.
Chris began his writing as a hobby while attending Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Today he and his wife live in the Orlando area with their three children and dog.