PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has opened the Great Swamp Shooting Range for the season and welcomes sportsmen and women to use Rhode Island's only free, public outdoor shooting range. Located within the Great Swamp Management Area in South Kingstown, the range has areas for three distinct disciplines: archery, clay target shooting, and paper target shooting.
This year, the facility has extended its season, operating from April 1 to Nov. 3. It is open seven days a week, including holidays. Public access and shooting hours are 8:30 AM-6 PM. Although the range is free to use, users must obtain a range permit beforehand. Click here for information on applying for a range permit. Questions can be directed to Branton.Elleman.CTR@dem.ri.gov.
"Our range supports the DEM Hunter Safety Education Program, which instructs hunters and sport shooters in the safe storage, transport, handling, and shooting of firearms and archery equipment," said Division of Fish and Wildlife Chief Phil Edwards. "Shooting accuracy and practice are critically important for ethical hunting and humane take of legally hunted game. Sighting in firearms, adjusting scopes, and simply practicing with targets are important and necessary steps to prepare for hunting."
Since its opening in 1976, the range has undergone several renovations, including, in 2018, a complete $2.1 million redo that significantly upgraded both shooting opportunities and safety measures. It uses the latest industry standards for safety and management practices. Everything – from the bench design, baffles, and curtains between shooting stations – was designed to create a safe, comfortable, and environmentally friendly shooting experience. Additionally, solar energy is used for powering the range office to help reduce energy consumption. The range provides a positive and structured environment for adults and youth alike to practice using a variety of firearms and archery equipment both safely and responsibly under the supervision of trained range officers.
Shooting sports provide physical, mental, and social benefits to participants and help protect wildlife and natural resources. Special taxes paid when firearms and ammunition are purchased have funded billions of dollars' worth of conservation programs and wildlife habitat projects across the United States. No general fund taxpayer money is used to fund the Great Swamp Shooting Range. Its operating budget comes from taxes collected on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment that are distributed through the federal Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act.
For more information on DEM programs and initiatives, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow DEM on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.