5/17/2010 For Immediate Release U.S. Forest Service Temporarily Closes Flintlock Valley Shooting Range ASHEVILLE, NC .The US Forest Service announced today a temporary emergency closure of the Flintlock Valley Shooting Range on the Uwharrie National Forest, while the agency evaluates the ranges future management. Recent incidents near the range have impacted forest visitors who were recreating in the area, prompting the temporary closure. District Ranger Deborah Walker states, We will do everything within our authority to protect forest visitors, and will not compromise public safety. The range will remain closed while analysis of alternatives is conducted. This may take up to a year, and the public will have opportunities for input before a final decision is made. The popular shooting range has been open since 1996, averaging 1000 visitors per month. Various safety modifications have been made over the years, including raising the height of the berms behind the rifle and pistol ranges, loosening the soil on the range to reduce ricochet, and staffing the site with volunteers to assist with public safety. The recent incidents have caused the Forest Service to take additional steps to protect the public. Visitors who have already purchased annual passes for use of the range may contact the Uwharrie National Forest at 910-576-6391 for instructions on how to obtain a refund.