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Rifle Range Gets the Boot From Mont. Park

Mar 18, 2:31 AM (ET)

By SUSAN GALLAGHER

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Erosion by wind and water is a big part of the story at Makoshika State Park, a place of badlands and dinosaur fossils, bobcats and bluebirds. Now some people who enjoy firing guns at a range there fear erosion of what they have come to view as an entitlement.

The state parks agency plans to eliminate a decades-old rifle range at Makoshika, a rolling expanse of peculiar sandstone formations in eastern Montana. The 11,500-acre park gets about 54,000 visits a year, and is especially popular among gun enthusiasts in Glendive, about a quarter-mile from the rifle range and its plywood targets.

"Things have changed," said Tom Reilly, an assistant administrator in the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "Now we have a visitor center on one side and a public campground on the other."
Shooting may disturb people who "come from New Jersey to camp and wake up to gunfire," he said "We may be used to that, living here, but others may not be." :rant:

The state agency's new 10-year management plan for Makoshika calls for moving the shooting range, but no new site has been selected.

That concerns Glendive shooters such as Ernest Huether, who sells and repairs guns. He worries the alternative to the state range will be a private one, with fees and a less convenient location. :frown:

Another shooter, Henry Mischel of the Dawson County Rod & Gun Club, said state planners should keep in mind that guns are a traditional part of life in Montana. :danceban:

His response to concerns about visitors: "I don't like the sound of sirens when I go to a big city, but I have to deal with it." :yup:

Mischel said the rifle range has existed at least for the 50 years he has lived in Glendive. On a busy day, the range - passed by visitors heading to the park's interior - draws dozens of shooters carrying handguns and rifles. :congrats:

The new Makoshika plan, prepared after study of recommendations from a public advisory group, was approved in late 2005 by Jeff Hagener, director of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The state commission overseeing the agency will take up an appeal Monday by John N. Haas of Glendive, who has challenged removal of the range. Eliminating it might be OK were there a suitable replacement, but one has not been found, Haas said. :mad:

"I'm not sure that a suitable replacement site exists - it depends on what is defined as suitable," he wrote in the appeal. And without an alternative site, he said, "future development within the park cannot successfully be planned around a faulty assumption that the range will be moved." :spankme:

There have been no reports of accidents or close calls associated with the range, but the plan says "the possibility of a misfire" into a populated area cannot be ignored. :aargh4:

"People wander all over," said Jim Swanson of the park advocacy group Friends of Makoshika. "They can drop over a hill and, boom, they're right in a rifle range."
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I've never been to Montana, but would love to go as I have always thought of it...like Texas....as a haven for patriotic Americans. Sheeeeesh if it can happen there it can happen anywhere!
 

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Jim - I have no need to make quotes - because you placed your smilies so perfectly!!!

They say all I need to say too.

This compares well with instances where a range has been in use for decades and some high flier developer goes and builds a bunch of new houses half a mile away - into which move out-of-towners looking for the suburban/rural life - who then start a campaign to close said range because the noise bothers them!

Another parallel - the guy who wants country living, but then moans about his near neighbor who farms hogs - the smell ''upsets'' him!

''Goes with the territory'' folks!!!!!!!!!!! :rolleyes:
 

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Goes with the territory!!! Amen to that Chris.
 

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I have an "Unofficial" Teller County, Colorado "Informational Flyer" for new residents from "less rural" areas. Included therein is information on how to "get along" with your neighbors who've lived there a lot longer.....like: "Don't let your dogs chase their cattle. They'll get shot"...

Times change. Daniel Boone moved west to get away from too many people. Still happening.
 

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Darn it! 50 years at the sight and NOW it's a problem? Sheesh!
 

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P95Carry said:
...This compares well with instances where a range has been in use for decades and some high flier developer goes and builds a bunch of new houses half a mile away - into which move out-of-towners looking for the suburban/rural life - who then start a campaign to close said range because the noise bothers them!...
This very thing just happened, here in Henrico County. Development has surrounded a long-established (private) range, and the newcomers decided it was noisy living right next to a range, and attempted to have it shutdown (as they did a long-established quarry in the area, too). The range won. Further, a new law was just passed preventing such ranges around the state from being condemned for similar reasons.
 

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The range won. Further, a new law was just passed preventing such ranges around the state from being condemned for similar reasons.
The way it should be Tom - 100%. Call it the ''I was here first law'' - makes total sense.

Heck, I get so tired of these moaners - who either did not check the area properly first or just decide later they don't like it!!! Wha, wha, wha!
 

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We are having the same problem here in Idaho with a range that was given to the people by the military out at Faragut State Park, When the Military gave the old base to the state part of the agreement was that the range would be available for the public, Now that movie stars & high rollers have moved into the area they are starting to complain. Needless to say we are in a huge battle to keep this range & to update it so we can use it for competitions. It seems that the sound of gunfire in the morning upsets some people . This range has been an active range for atleast 75years. Why Now is it a problem???

Damn liberals.........
 

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There have been no reports of accidents or close calls associated with the range, but the plan says "the possibility of a misfire" into a populated area cannot be ignored.
The possibility of being struck by lightning can't be ignored, either.:rolleyes:

According to how I read Montana state law, the Glendive range should be grandfathered.

Here's the pertinent statute:

76-9-105. Closure of shooting ranges -- limitations -- relocation cost. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2), an established shooting range may not be prevented from operation by a state agency, unit of local government, or court unless the range presents a clear and provable safety hazard to the adjacent population.
(2) If a pressing public need exists because of incompatibility with nearby population or land use, an established shooting range may be relocated by an agency of state government, unit of local government, or court, but only if all of the following conditions are met:
(a) pressing public need is documented through hearings, testimony, and a clear and precise statement of need by the agency, unit of local government, or court involved;
(b) the agency or unit of local government obtaining the closure pays the appraised cost of the land together with improvements to the operators of the shooting range. In return the shooting range operators shall relinquish their interest in the property to the agency or unit of local government obtaining the closure.
(3) If a shooting range presents a clear and provable safety hazard to adjacent population, the range may be suspended from operation if:
(a) reasonable notice and opportunity to respond are afforded the range operators; and
(b) reasonable opportunity is afforded the range operators to correct any safety defects.
 

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Jim, you remember the range they were proposing to develop in Homestead a few years back? Last I heard it was never developed because the shooting would create a niusance because of the noise. Never mind that the range's neighbor was the Homestead-Miami Speedway where NASCAR and othe races are held.

All those noise excuses are nothing but
 

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I'm curious why a "misfire" is such a concern. C'mon ... CLICK! and that's it. I hate these people who can't even get the facts straight. A local news reporter just the other day said a school kid was caught with "a 22 caliber Derringer that holds 5 shots." Where the Hell did the kid get a Pepperbox? I want one of those myself!
Jack
 

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I'm curious why a "misfire" is such a concern.
Bear in mind that the Associated Press is an ultra-liberal news organization and their reporters are extremely gun knowledge challenged. Obviously, this reporter doesn't know the difference between a misfire and a stray shot.

Besides, I'd be willing to bet that this range is constructed so as to minimize, if not eliminate, the possibility of a stray shot landing in a populated area.
 

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yeah

Tom357 said:
This very thing just happened, here in Henrico County. Development has surrounded a long-established (private) range, and the newcomers decided it was noisy living right next to a range, and attempted to have it shutdown (as they did a long-established quarry in the area, too). The range won. Further, a new law was just passed preventing such ranges around the state from being condemned for similar reasons.
I always did like Virginia :smile:
 

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This sorta goes with what Chris said, about the hogs...

Here in the fastest growing city in the U.S., Las Vegas, there is a hog farm that was 30 miles north of downtown. Now it is surrounded by home development, and its neighbors are all complaining about the smell!! DUHHH. There are lawsuits galore, but the farmer wont budge. Good for him. He does run a "clean" operation, that being used with concrete floors, and all sorts of cleanup devices, but still, "hogs will be hogs". I blame the city/county dads for all of this, but in the end, I am sure he'll have to stop the operation of the farm, and bail out. The farm has been in operation for over 40 years.

This is why, come this Sunday, the ole U-Haul truck will be heading north into the wilds of Washington State, hopefully in my lifetime, what is left of it, I wont be surrouded by "smelly neighbors".
 

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Update

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission voted today to close the range, but not until an alternate location is found. The range will continue to operate in the interim.
 
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