Off Target: A legacy of neglect at county rifle range
is a multipart special report exploring the county's operations at Plantation Rifle Range, one of two publicly owned ranges in the state.

Written by Julia Lerner // Edited by Ron Judd

Five decades of bullet fragments and casings litter the ground at Plantation Rifle Range in Whatcom County.

Part I: Whatcom County’s Plantation Rifle Range: too little, too late

County officials knew about lead concerns for more than a decade

Read part one, which explores environmental concerns at the outdoor, high-power range at Plantation. Part one includes the interactive timeline below.

The indoor range at Plantation Rifle Range has been closed off-and-on for years as the county conducts cleanup at the site. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning system failed about a decade ago, and since then, lead dust has accumulated en masse around the facility.

Part II: Plantation's indoor range to reopen this year after significant renovation

Reopening comes with environmental, health concerns

Read part two, which describes past problems and current plans for the indoor range, which also needed significant updates.

Trainees from the Bellingham Police Department frequent Plantation Rifle Range throughout the year for mandatory training and recertification. With Plantation closed, they've had to go elsewhere in Whatcom and Skagit counties.

Part III: Law enforcement frequent Plantation Rifle Range despite safety concerns

Range closure has 'affected the efficiency of ... training'

Read part three, which describes how law enforcement utilize the range, contributing to environmental and health challenges.