Shooting range has been community staple for 70 years

Since its inception in the late 1940s, the Interlake Sporting Association has been providing shooters of all kinds a place to practice their craft.

Ben Starsky is a volunteer at Interlake, and said it used to be known as the Interlake Rod and Gun Club and focused on fishing on a body of water that formerly existed on the property, as well as shotgun shooting.

The range also provided a place for hunters to sight in their rifles.

The more than 9-acre property is located on the borders of Redmond and Kirkland in an urban forest.

When the range was originally constructed, Starsky said the area was much more rural.

“The city came and met us here,” he said.

He and other members of the volunteer group that run the range, including Su Laing, Richard Ripley and Larry Ford, said they take safety seriously, especially with neighbors so close.

As with any responsible range, there are natural or earthen backstops that make sure bullets don’t go beyond a set point.

The grounds holds multiple ranges, including a rifle range at the bottom of a hill on the property where shooters can take aim at targets as far away as 200 yards.

Above that is a pistol range with much shorter distances to the targets, and on the top of the hill are their shotgun and skeet and archery ranges.

It’s one of the only outdoor ranges in the area, the other closest being the Kenmore Shooting Range.

Ripley said they try to work with community groups to provide a place for organizations like the Boy Scouts, veterans and college students a place to practice.

“This is a place they can go that’s safe,” he said.

It also provides a location for black-powder shooters as well as hosts hunter education and safety programs.

The range is a private club with more than 400 members. In order to join, new prospects have to be approved through a members’ vote as well as have a sponsor already in the club.

With an already lengthy history in the area, the club is hoping to make improvements in coming years and to keep adding to its inventory of ranges.

Currently in the works is a walking archery range, where archers will be able to walk through a path that simulates a hunting scenario and practice taking shots at 3-D targets.

They are also in the process of setting up a steel target pistol range.

The original clubhouse on the property was recently demolished, and the club is working with local Boy Scouts to turn it into a picnic area, and hopefully help turn Interlake into more of a shooting sports park.

“We’d like to keep the facility open for another 70 years,” Starsky said.

The Interlake Sporting Association is located at 13633 N.E. 97th St.