CORRECTIONVILLE, Iowa | The air was once more alive Saturday at Little Sioux Park with the crack of rifle fire and pitter-patter of spent bullet shells hitting the ground.
The Stub Gray shooting range has reopened at the park after the Woodbury County Conservation Board finished cleaning and repairing it.
The range, two miles southwest of Correctionville near O'Brien Avenue and 180th Street, had been closed since May 2014 because of heavy amounts of vandalism and litter, according to Rick Schneider, director of the conservation board.
"It was a shame," Schneider said. "Some had really trashed the place, but we've made a lot of improvements to help stop that from now on."
The rifle range has a series of concrete tubes and metal ricochet shields that look out over the field. Target stands are supplied by the board, but shooters have to bring their own targets and a staple gun, Schneider said.
A list of rules is posted, with certain items being barred from the range, including Tannerite, a brand of explosive targets.
Also new is a $10 daily fee, or $50 for a annual permit to shoot at the range, which Schneider said the board hopes will cut down on vandals and littering.
"We'll have people monitoring the area from now on, including volunteers," he said.
The total cost of the renovations was about $20,000, he said.
People had brought in appliances such as washing machines and televisions, filled them with explosives and shot them, among other misuses of the range, Schneider said.
Alex Perez, of Kingsley, Iowa, arrived Saturday to view the range's updates with hopes of returning later for some target practice. A regular before the range closed, he remembers having to clean up jugs of antifreeze others had used for targets over the years.
"We'd have to clean up before we could shoot. We missed being able to come here," he said.
At the range, Tyler Griffin was statue still as he lined up a shot while peering down the sights of his Rossi 92 lever-action rifle before squeezing the trigger.
Griffin, of Sioux City, and his friend Eric Kabisch, of Kingsley, are members of the Tri-State Public Range Association, a nonprofit group that cleans and maintains public shooting ranges in Siouxland.
Griffin said they had come to the Stub Gray range many times before it shut down to clean up the mess others had left behind.
"We're about conservation, so when someone destroys a refrigerator here or something, chemicals and stuff get into the environment. That's not right," he said.
Kabisch approved of the renovations and was glad to see the range open once more.
"I like it. The handgun range is a big update," he said. "Hopefully it can stay as a draw for the area."