CLINTONVILLE - More and more outdoor enthusiasts in and around the Au Sable River Valley are enjoying the results of a recent effort to revitalize one of the area's most long-standing sites for the practice of shooting sports.
According to Bill Mitchell, president of the Chesterfield Fish and Game Club, activities at their 150-acre property on Green Street in Clintonville had been few and far between for the better part of a decade; that is, until he and a handful of other members decided to bring the club and its facilities back to life last fall.
"We've really put a lot of work into it since last October," said Mitchell, who was one of several local businessmen to donate materials for the renovations. "It's really something for a few dedicated people to get the place back up and running.
Club members renovated the 50-foot indoor shooting range, which is now heated, and added a new shooting shed for the outdoor range. Trap- and skeet-shooting ranges were given a much-needed make-over.
The Chesterfield Fish and Game Club was established in 1969. Mitchell, a 25-year member of the club, was one of several new club officers elected in December at the first meeting the club had held in more than six years.
Monthly meetings have been held ever since. Meanwhile, work has continued on grooming and renovating the club's facilities, and weekly activities have been scheduled at the indoor shooting range with a special focus placed on youth.
A Youth BB-Gun League has been instituted where children age 10-12 receive lessons through a national instruction program aimed at gun safety. 15 youth have enrolled in the 10-session program, and Mitchell said more may join when the program re-starts later this year.
"We know there is some interest from other fish and game clubs in the area," said Joanna D'Ascoli, the club's secretary. "Our hope is that they will use the same national instruction program and there will be some inter-club competitions the kids can be involved in."