Budget restraints, low usage force belt-tightening move; target shooting prohibited on rest of wildlife area

CHENEY -- On Dec. 15, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) shooting range on the north end of Cheney Reservoir will be closed to the public for the majority of the winter. The official closing dates will be Dec.15 through Feb. 28. The range will re-open to the public on Sunday, March 1. This will be the new annual closed schedule and will typically be the period from the end of the regular firearms deer season to the first weekend day in March.

"The closure is the result of budget constraints, lack of man-power, and decreased visitation," says Cheney Wildlife Area manager Stuart Schrag. "After collecting data from daily range use surveys over a three-year period, we found that from mid-December through February, the range receives the least amount of visitation.

“It’s hard to justify paying a range officer to sit all day at the range on a cold January day when only one or two people show up to shoot,” Schrag explains.

KDWP, like most other state agencies, is faced with budget reductions and challenging economic times. By temporarily closing the range during the slow winter months, expenditures are reduced, allowing the facility to remain open on weekends during the rest of the higher-use months from March to the middle of December.

The public is asked to remember that target practice anywhere else on Cheney Wildlife Area is prohibited. For more information, phone Schrag at 620-459-6922 or Region 4 public lands supervisor Randy Clark at 316-683-8069.