LAKE MERCED — Shotgun blasts ring out into the lake, and a reasonable, middle-aged man steps out from behind the counter of a nearby clubhouse.
Michael Emery, a 48-year-old photographer, sports his usual Pacific Rod & Gun Club cap. If he weren’t standing in the 80-year-old trap and skeet club, surrounded by men nearing the same age as the facilities, he might as well coach your local baseball team.
Generations have passed, but the public gun club at Lake Merced still stands to transform the lives of many through trap and skeet shooting — including Emery’s son, Edward Emery, who was diagnosed early in life with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder:
“This place fundamentally changed my son’s life. … This kid came, totally thought something was wrong with his mind, a 93-year-old guy takes him out, shows him trap and skeet, and he starts breaking 25 out of 25. He can do anything he wants as long as he’s interested.”
But other children won’t have the same opportunity as Emery’s son beginning next year.
Today, the gun club faces eviction because of, at least officially, the more than 70 years of lead shot and clay targets made of asphaltic material its members shot into the lake and onto its shores, according to the SFPUC.