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AUDIO JOURNAL: Behind-the-scenes sounds from a machine gun range in Vermont tell a story for Cape Cod

Few people outside of the military will sleep in an army barracks, pass through machine gun training, or stand within feet of the military's deadliest weapons as it's fired. In this audio journal, CAI reporter Eve Zuckoff recounts the 36 hours she spent traveling north to Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, in Jericho, Vermont. This behind-the-scenes story offers a closer look at the people, drills, and weaponry that could come to a proposed machine gun range on Joint Base Cape Cod.


Here’s some background: 

In August 2020, CAI learned that the Massachusetts Army National Guard had spent roughly a decade trying to bring a machine gun range to Joint Base Cape Cod. In the two-and-a-half years since, the project has sparked protests, federal reviews, public meetings that nearly resulted in violence, and a growing rift between some Cape Codders and their neighbors on the base.

Learn more about the proposed machine gun range for Cape Cod

Currently, the project is awaiting review from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The federal agency has pushed back the release date of a report assessing potential impacts the range could have on an aquifer that provides much of the Upper Cape with drinking water. Once that review is released, the public will have a chance to respond. And then the Massachusetts Environmental Management Commission will wield the power of final approval.

Covering the proposed machine gun range has required hundreds of hours of the CAI news team. It has brought us to the doorsteps of scientists, lawmakers, activists, Guard officials, military experts, and more.

In this most recent reporting initiative — which represents our 34th, 35th, and 36th stories on the proposed range — CAI’s Eve Zuckoff traveled 240 miles north in an armored Humvee to Camp Ethan Allen, in Vermont, to bring back a first-hand account of what the proposed machine gun range might look and sound like if built on Cape Cod.

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.

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