The Oct. 30 grand-opening of the new Sportsman's Lodge
ranges marked the midpoint of efforts to construct a recreational
shooting complex to expand Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation
(MWR) opportunities on Fort McCoy.
Garrison Commander Col. David E.
Chesser talks about the range and future lodge during the
Sportsman’s Range Grand Opening ceremony.
(Photo by Lou Ann M. Mittelstaedt)
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser said
the range project began with a Family and MWR survey conducted about 18
months ago. One question asked participants what Family and MWR amenity
they wanted that Fort McCoy did not provide. The responses indicated a
recreational shooting range, with, in order, pistol-, rifle-, trap- and
skeet-ranges and a 3-D archery course.
“We took a look at the top four requests and realized that it was
possible to provide them all in one complex,” Chesser said. “At the same
time, in April 2009, we earned recognition during the Army Communities
of Excellence (ACOE) competition as one of the Army’s most-improved
installations. That distinction won us $200,000 in ACOE monies, and we
realized that we could use it to construct the shooting complex and
thereby measurably improve quality of life on the installation.”
Further, by using Troop Project labor to build the ranges the
installation could extend the ACOE funding it received. Chesser said it
was a win-win situation for all. The engineer troops received valuable
training, and, as a byproduct of their work, the installation received
the complex it wanted.
During this process, Fort McCoy also was able to procure Capital
Purchase, Minor Construction funds to construct a Sportsman’s Lodge
The Sportsman’s Lodge ranges include a 200-meter rifle range, a 50-meter
pistol range and a combination trap and skeet field. The 3-D archery
course is a planned addition that will be constructed in the spring of
2011. Chesser said the ranges were developed for recreational purposes,
and not for military training. The ranges are designed to support
recreational shooting as well as select competitive events in the
future, such as league trap and skeet shoots and sanctioned rifle and
pistol matches of varying disciplines.
The facility will be open to authorized Family and MWR patrons,
including Soldiers, civilian employees, Family members, retirees,
government contractors working on the installation and invited guests.
The next project is the Sportsman’s Lodge. The lodge will be a 4,800
square foot log cabin structure with a bar, restaurant, conference
areas, pro-shop, and a large porch where patrons can relax and enjoy the
ranges and the surrounding area, Chesser said.
“It will be a place to go and enjoy with Family and friends,” he said.
“In addition to supporting the range operations, our intent is to use
the facility to augment our limited dining options for the work force
and to host conferences and unit social functions in a Northwoods
sportsman-themed bar, restaurant and conference facility — a facility
that will be different from anything else on post.”
Chesser said he developed the vision for the Lodge based upon his
personal experience of living and working within the cantonment area for
20 months. “Other than McCoy’s, there was no place to eat on post after
6:30 pm, and there was no place to just hang out.” Although existing
food venues provide fast-food dining opportunities, they do not offer
restaurant-type dining opportunities, he added. “The lodge will help
fill that void.”
The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation currently
is working to finalize the lodge design so the project can be moved
forward into the contracting process. Fort McCoy officials expect to
break ground on the lodge project around March 2011 and complete
construction by this time next year.
For more information about the Sportsman’s Range, call 608-388-3517 or