With the tremendous boom (no pun intended) in gun sales the past six months, perhaps it is appropriate that there will be a major informational update on the proposed Northern Arizona Shooting Range project this coming Saturday, March 7. And you do not even have to travel to Phoenix to participate.
The proposed range is the second item on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission agenda. Josh Avey, Habitat Branch Chief, will give a presentation on the shooting facility, including current Issues, planning efforts, and pending decisions on the proposed Willard Spring Land Exchange with the U.S. Forest Service. The presentation will include a generic overview of how the National Environmental Policy Act (or NEPA) process functions. The Commission may vote to take action on or provide the department direction on items covered in the update.
Flagstaff is the largest city in the state without a shooting range and northern Arizona is the only region of the state without an organized shooting range. The result has been the widespread use of a variety of cinder pits and some less-than-safe locations for shooters to shoot. With 20 percent of Arizona residents participating in recreational shooting (AGFD Trends Survey, Responsive Management 2008), that is a lot of shooters who need a safe place for recreational shooting.
Then you can add in the needs of law enforcement officers to practice their shooting skills and they, too, have nowhere to go.
Also add in the needs of the hundreds of kids who go through the hunter education program each year and then add up all those needs. A lot of people would benefit from an organized shooting range.
Shooting ranges also provide economic benefits to the local community when they host competitive shooters who travel across the state and the country to compete in their sport. And all those shooters buy gas and eat food and stay in motels.
This effort began in 1996 and had a false start with the proposed Bellemont site.
The new proposed site is located south of Flagstaff, west of the Willard Springs interchange on Interstate 17 about 2 miles north of Munds Park.
This is an important project and you can drive to the meeting in Phoenix or participate in a live video-conferencing of the meeting at the Game and Fish Regional office at 3500 South Lake Mary Road in Flagstaff. The meeting starts at 8 a.m.