Noise tests at proposed Griswold state police gun range fires up residents

GRISWOLD -- Two years ago, the residents of Griswold made it clear that they did not want their community and the Pachaug State Forest to be the new home for the state police gun range.

But, Wednesday, residents got a preview of what it might sound like.

For several hours, a team of roughly 15 state troopers shot various types of guns on the proposed 113 acre site, while noise levels were recorded as part of an environmental impact study that probably will not be completed until the end of this year.

Pachaug State Forest was one of 4,000 potential sites that state considered.

"It’s a remote location, surrounded on three sides by the Pachaug Forest and the fourth side is actually an existing gun club," said Jeffrey Beckham, spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.

"This is our life," said a teary eyed Sandie Gauthier, of Griswold. "We moved out into the country. We are on land that’s been in our family for over 100 years."

"The anxiety right now, since this has been proposed, it’s unbelievable," said Stephen Douglas, who livers near the proposed site.

"Inside the house I could hear it," said Gauthier, as she wept and was consoled by a friend.

She lives about a mile from where the test firing was happening today. A resident, who is a proponent of the range told FOX61, off camera, that he would feel more safe having that many state troopers in Griswold on regular basis.

Most of the Pachaug State Forest sits in of neighboring Voluntown, where a very popular campground is just a couple of miles from the proposed range.

"The population of our town doubles over the Summer," noted Voluntown First Selectman, Tracey Hanson.

And, if the plan comes to fruition, she's afraid hikers and campers will stay away.

"If it starts getting out that it's loud," said Hanson. "People come out here for the quiet. As you can hear right now, it's just birds."

The state said the closest homes to the proposed shooting range are just over a half mile away.