Prevent bulldozing of history at Pacific Rod and Gun Club


On the east side of Lake Merced in San Francisco, you can see people swinging their drivers and woods, chipping their irons and tapping their putters. On the west side of the lake, people are taking aim with their 12 gauges, 20 gauges, over-under and side-by-side shotguns, yelling, “Pull!” and shooting clay pigeons out of the air — at least, they were until April 8.

Let me introduce you to the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, the only gun club in a metropolitan region in the United States and a place where everyone is welcome. The club has officially been forced to move out, evicted by its landlord, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, because of the need for environmental cleanup. A 2011 study found that the top 3 feet of the shooting range’s soil were contaminated by lead shot and clay pigeons — with levels of arsenic and benzo(a)pyrene beyond the safe limit for humans. The club had stopped using them in 1994.

I don’t know much about contamination, but the ostensibly unsafe levels of lead and other elements have not been unsafe for club members: Many are over the age of 70, in good health and still blasting clay pigeons with perfect boyhood vitality. I’ve even heard a man north of 90 describe the club as a “lifesaver” and a place that “keeps him young.”

The study is more of a convenient ultimatum than anything else and a diplomatic way to address the elephant in the room: A “gun club in San Francisco” — today, at least — is a paradox.

Letting the Pacific Rod and Gun Club go would not only be a sad goodbye to a good place but would also be a regrettable farewell to a site enriched with culture and history. Additionally, saying goodbye would rob the environment of the benefit it could receive from the example the club is positioned to set for the sporting world: how and why to be green.

[Read More...]

S.F. gun club closure triggers $22 million cleanup


The Pacific Rod and Gun Club at Lake Merced may be shutting down in April, but its presence will linger on in the estimated $22 million bill to clean up 80 years’ worth of shotgun pellets and busted clay pigeons that litter the lakeside skeet- and trap-shooting range.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors approved the final $9.5 million for the cleanup project, which is to begin days after the club moves out April 8. Construction crews will begin removing about 46,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the 11-acre site at San Francisco’s southwestern edge, replacing it with clean dirt.

[Read More...]

California Regional Water Quality Control Board San Francisco Bay Region


The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region, hereinafter called the Regional Water Board, finds that:


1. The Pacific Rod and Gun Club (the Club) is a public recreation facility located on the west side of Lake Merced in San Francisco (see Figure 1). The Club occupies approximately 10 acres of land that is leased from the City and County of San Francisco. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (the SFPUC), a public agency which is part of the City and County of San Francisco, currently has jurisdiction over Lake Merced. The Club built and maintains facilities at the Site, including skeet and trap ranges where shotguns are used to shoot pellets at clay targets. The Club has operated the facilities and the ranges at the current location since 1934. The facilities are used daily, and the ranges are currently in
operation three days a week. For the purposes of this Order, the Club and the SFPUC are jointly considered the Dischargers.

[Read More...]

Historic SF gun club fighting to dodge eviction


San Francisco resident Michael Emery recalls the moment of surprise when his soft-spoken and youngest son Edward, then 12 years old, announced that he wanted a hunter’s license.

“We’re not gun folks,” Emery said of his family. “We didn’t have any experience with hunting.”

So Edward took to the Internet and quickly discovered the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, which has resided at Lake Merced for the past 80 years and offers the only public shooting range in San Francisco.

“It really became his second home,” Michael Emery said. “He would go out on weekends, shoot a few rounds, pick up shells for the old guys. He was literally hanging around with guys older than his grandfather.”

[Read More...]

Pacific Rod and Gun Club Upland Soil Remedial Action Project


The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) proposes to implement the Pacific Rod and Gun Club Upland Soil Remedial Action Plan (the “project”), which would clean up soil contamination at the Pacific Rod and Gun Club (PRGC), located at 520 John Muir Drive on the southwest side of Lake Merced in San Francisco, California. Soil contamination is the result of the former use of lead shot and clay targets made with asphaltic materials at the skeet and trap shooting ranges. The SFPUC prepared the PRGC Remedial Action Plan (RAP) in response to a Cleanup Order issued by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region (RWQCB). The project consists of excavation and appropriate off‐site disposal of up to 46,500 cubic yards of soils containing elevated concentrations of lead and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and backfilling of excavated areas with clean fill material.

[Read More...]

S.F. gun club sets sights on survival


A recent Wednesday at 3:34 p.m.: Walter Biondi bought his first shotgun when he was 17 and shortly afterward headed to the Pacific Rod and Gun Club to start what has become a lifelong passion for skeet shooting and trapshooting.

“It didn’t take me long to become acquainted with the gun,” Biondi said.

Now at 93, he is the oldest member of San Francisco’s only trap and skeet shotgun shooting range. The range occupies 14 acres on the southwest edge of Lake Merced. The club is open Wednesdays and weekends, and there is rarely a day Biondi isn’t eager to be there.

[Read More...]

Gentry Magazine

2016 Olympic Hopeful, Ali Chiang – Gentry Magazine

The Bold Italic

The Pacific Rod and Gun Club is a hidden jewel nestled on the shores of Lake Merced. It’s the only skeet and trap club within 30 miles of San Francisco, but if it weren’t for the occasional pop of a shotgun, you might not notice its modest clubhouses and dark green field fencing. Outwardly it may seem like the place hasn’t changed much since its ground breaking in 1933. However, a closer look reveals a community of volunteers and members that very much reflects modern San Francisco.

That community is about to be evicted, as the Pacific Rod and Gun Club was recently served a termination notice after negotiations to renew their lease were unsuccessful. Without public support, on August 15th the club will be forced to vacate the land they have been stewards of for the past 78 years. [Read More...]

Gunning for the Staus Quo