Sports range to open 

A new, fully accessible rifle, pistol and archery range designed for veterans and people with disabilities will soon be available near McGregor, in north-central Minnesota. It is led by Forgotten Heroes Ranges and Retreat, a nonprofit formed in memory of Chuck Evancevich. He was an Air Force veteran who spent the final 12 years of his life in a wheelchair after a diagnosis of primary progressive multiple sclerosis. 

Ground for the project was broken this summer. Evancevich was an active athlete and avid outdoorsman, playing hockey at the Air Force Academy and being recruited by the Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds. 

Evancevich’s family members built tools to help him enjoy his favorite hunting and fishing activities. They also worked on his dream of an accessible hunting retreat so disabled veterans could still get outside and enjoy nature, Brenda said. After his death in 2020, family and friends set out to make his dream a reality — a retreat with the addition of the shooting range made just for disabled individuals and veterans. 

Bret Sample, who is also a disabled veteran, is president of Forgotten Heroes Ranges and Retreat. He purchased 35 acres and signed the land over to Forgotten Heroes Ranges and Retreat. After more than 9,000 volunteer hours and more than a dozen filled 40-yard dumpsters, the site of the former dump is 95 percent cleared, Sample said. The next step of the project is to dig ponds to build berms and create shooting lanes for the range. Forgotten Heroes Ranges and Retreat has been working closely with Aitkin County Planning and Zoning, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and National Rifle Association for design input and specifications. 

(Source: Duluth News Tribune)