Damage from rains forces shooting range to delay opening again

The opening of the 68-acre Box Canyon Shooting Range has been pushed back yet again. No new date has been announced by U.S. Bureau of Land Management. [William Butler]

The shooting range at Box Canyon has been delayed yet again and it will not open in November as planned due to damage from recent rains, according to a U.S. Bureau of Land Management official.

Opening of the facility has been delayed several times, for more than a year.

“Rains in October caused some damage to the Box Canyon Recreational Shooting Site, including the partial collapse of one of the berms and some road damage,” said BLM spokesman Chris Wonderly. “We expect necessary repair work will occur in the coming months. Because of this, the Box Canyon site will not open in November. It likely will be after the new year before it’s ready to open.”

The 68-acre facility is within the Box Canyon Recreation Area, a semi-developed 1,072-acre site about 10 miles west of town. The entrance will be about 1,000 feet west of North Hidden Valley Road.

Wonderly said there are two other shooting sites open in the Valley, but both – Church Camp Road and Saddleback Mountain – are in far northern Phoenix off Carefree Highway.

“We’ve opened two of our recreational target-shooting sites north of the Phoenix area and public feedback has been positive, so we are eager to get the Box Canyon site open and operating for nearby residents to enjoy,” Wonderly said.

When the ribbon finally is cut, the range will be open seven days a week during daylight hours. In winter months, the hours will be approximately 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer hours will be longer as daylight increases, Wonderly said.

Cobblestone Farms resident Daryl Siewert, a shooting enthusiast, was skeptical when the November opening date was announced.

“We’ll see,” Siewert said. “They have said they were going to open it before, and it hasn’t happened. I showed up for the original November 2021 opening date and there was no one there. I’ll keep an open mind, and I hope they get it open. It will be good for the area.”