First-in-state machine gun range proposed for Camp Edwards –

CAPE COD — An eight-lane machine gun range that would be the first in the state is being planned for Camp Edwards, the Massachusetts Army National Guard training area at Joint Base Cape Cod.

The proposal, contained in a 100-page environmental assessment prepared for the Guard and an accompanying draft finding that says the project would have no significant impacts, calls for clearing 170 acres of forest and disturbing about 199 acres of land. The selected location is the current KD, or known distance, range.

More than 5,000 acres would be required to accommodate the operation, since it would include the area where projectiles fired on the range would land, based on types of weapons and ammunition used.

The range would be used for training of military personnel and weapons qualification.

Anticipated weapons used include several types of machine guns, 12-gauge shotguns, grenade launchers and pistols.

Potential noise in surrounding neighborhoods would be “varied,” according to a report done as part of the assessment. The area of most intense noise, peaking above 130 decibels, would be contained within the base, but some noise could affect “multiple neighborhoods as well as an elementary school” located to the east of the range.

The National Guard would notify neighbors of upcoming training events, particularly for use of .50-caliber weapons.

So-called “firebreaks” are planned around the perimeter to reduce wildfire hazard.

“Range use at Camp Edwards introduces significant wildfire hazard into unmanaged and high-risk fuels conditions, through the use of tracers and ammunition,” the assessment says. Tracers are forms of