Full Funding Assured for Huge Nevada Range
by Joseph P. Tartaro
There had been moments during 2005 when the ambitious dream of a world-class shooting facility just 10 miles from one of the nation’s leading tourist attractions might not come to fruition.
However, on Feb. 7, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), minority leader of the US Senate, announced that the $42 million full funding grant for construction of the Clark County Shooting Park north of Las Vegas had been approved.
The funding comes from a special account created under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA), in which a portion of the money the Bureau of Lands Management (BLM) realizes from the sale of development land is earmarked for local recreational and environmental projects.
“The Clark County Shooting Park will be an incredible resource for Nevadans,” said Reid. “This funding will help give shooting enthusiasts and hunters a world-class sports facility, and it will help improve public safety.”
In 2002, Reid secured almost 3,000 acres of federal land at base of Sheep Mountain located at the north end of the Las Vegas Valley for the development of a major public shooting facility. Early last year, Reid announced $15 million in Phase I funding for planning and design of the park.
But when a full funding request was advanced, competition for grants to other projects in Southern Nevada posed problems. In February 2005 the Phase II funding was denied, as reported in the Mar. 1, 2005 issue of Gun Week. However, local competition for the grant money was not the only problem. There were also reports that White House budget plans could put an end to the entire SNPLMA program. At one point, the funding request was cut by the federal review board, and it looked like the target 2007 completion date would slip away.
The Clark County Board of Commissioners, which had originally approved the world-class range project after appointing a broad-based citizens advisory board, adopted resolutions to support restoration of the full funding and in opposition to shutting down the SNPLMA program. Next, the BLM announced a public comment period that opened in May 2005.
The public comment clearly supported the funding and completion of the project. In addition, the entire Nevada congressional delegation also lent support.
Now, the Phase II funding announced by Reid’s office will allow construction at the site to begin within the next few months.
“When Senator Reid started this project, some folks thought it was too ambitious and would never happen,” said John Cahill, chairman of the Nevada Outdoor Democratic Caucus. “This new funding makes the Shooting Park a reality. As a result, families will have a safe public facility to learn firearms safety and shoot together.”
The Clark County Shooting Park will bring new visitors and major sporting competitions to Southern Nevada. It will also help the county build on the success of other shooting and hunting-related events like the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, which brought about 40,000 visitors to Las Vegas for its four-day run Feb. 9-12, and is expected to return in 2008.
“This facility will be a great asset for our Nevada shooters and visitors alike,” said Don Turner, the Clark County Shooting Park manager. “I appreciate the effort of Senator Reid and the entire Nevada delegation in supporting this shooting park.”
When completed, the Clark County Shooting Park, located on a strip of land three miles wide by 1.5 miles deep and surrounded on three sides by federal lands, will have the facilities to host major shooting competitions in every discipline, from traditional rifle, shotgun and pistol events to muzzleloading, cowboy action, action pistol, police and archery. The facility will also act as a center for hunter education programs and other educational and community programs.
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