Safety improvements to Koko Head Rifle Range, required before the planned re-opening, have begun.
Reports of bullet strikes in October on the other side of Koko Head Crater first led to limiting the Rifle Range to 100 yards, and most steel targets beyond were taken down. Ricochets from recumbent steel were thought to be the possible cause.
After two more bullet strikes were reported Friday, December 6, the Rifle Range was closed. Honolulu Mayor Caldwell held a press conference on the range Saturday December 7 to announce City and County plans. Now the focus is on possible ricochets from the 100 yard rifle range. A mitigation program to resurface the 100 yard backstop with sand and level the range floor that slopes uphill from the 50 yard target line to the 100 yard backstop is planned. Some grading, a strip about 10 yards wide, in front of the 100 yard significantly eroded backstop has been done (see photo below). Two large sand piles are on site, and coarse crushed rock was added to the road access to the Silhouette Range to allow heavy equipment to enter. An "eyebrow" is planned extending from the roof of the rifle range as a reminder. Building of that had not yet begun as of Wednesday, December 19.
The Silhouette Range has voluntarily shut down for now. The Skeet Range was not open last weekend. The Bulls-Eye pistol range remains open, usual hours. Law enforcement personnel are still shooting in the action bays. Apparently air testing done for lead during the soil disturbance by grading was not positive, or the whole range would be closed.
The range cleanup day, previously scheduled for December 29, is postponed because of lead concerns until 2014.
HRA is working with the favorable administration we now have. The immediate focus is on re-opening the 100 yard range to the public as soon as the Range Master, Parks Director, and the Mayor believe it is safe. Then HRA plans to work with them, the clubs and individual shooters involved, the public users, and City Council, to bring Koko Head into the 21st Century of range design, including placement of some 200+ yard targets.
HRA suggests for now that range supporters send Mayor Caldwell and Parks Director Toni Robinson Holiday Cards thanking them for their concern and positive action to date.
KIRK CALDWELL, MAYOR
530 S. King Street, Rm. 300
Honolulu, HI 96813
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
Toni P. Robinson, Director
1000 Uluohia Street, Suite 309
Kapolei, HI 96707
Dr. Maxwell Cooper
HRA Legislative Liaison