DNR's North Pioneer Road shooting area, in Benzie County, temporarily closed to target shooting to protect public safety

Contact: David Lemmien, 231-922-6040
Agency: Natural Resources

Sept. 30, 2021

Following safety complaints that include multiple calls about bullet strikes in a neighboring home, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has issued an emergency order that temporarily closes the North Pioneer Road shooting area, located on state forest land in Benzie County, to all target shooting.

The emergency order is in effect for 90 days, during which time department staff will evaluate next steps that would eliminate the possibility of visitors target shooting from anywhere other than specified areas.

The order comes after repeated efforts by the DNR to drive safety-conscious shooting practices at the site, including:

  • Posting signs that direct visitors to shoot from the base of the hill, rather than the elevated parking area.
  • Relocating shooting benches and tables to the base of the hill.
  • Outreach by local DNR Law Enforcement Division staff to target shooters to encourage responsible use of the area.

Unfortunately, expanded target shooting activities in Benzie County have created unsafe conditions for public land users and neighboring landowners in the vicinity of North Pioneer Road. User conflict and safety issues have continued at the shooting area, located at 2167 N. Pioneer Road, in Beulah. Additional complaints about projectiles leaving the target shooting area and unsafe conditions have been received both by the DNR and the Benzie County Sheriff's Department.

"Public safety has to be the No. 1 concern and responsibility when it comes to outdoor recreation, especially with shooting sports," said DNR Director Dan Eichinger.

"Everyone should have the opportunity to safely enjoy Michigan's public lands, but that opportunity comes with a responsibility to treat both the lands and other users with respect and courtesy," Eichinger said. "We will not reopen this area to target shooting until public safety concerns have been fully addressed and rectified."

During the 90-day period, DNR staff will work with local and county officials to evaluate opportunities for site improvements or continued closure of the area. Anyone with questions about this temporary closure should contact David Lemmien by email at LemmienD@Michigan.gov or by phone at 231-922-6040.

In the meantime, hunters looking for opportunities to sight in their firearms and prepare for Michigan's coming deer hunting seasons are welcome to responsibly use other DNR facilities. Visit Michigan.gov/ShootingRanges for locations, safety information and hours of operation.