Cops and Cowboys Shoot for Charity 13

A detail of a target with multiple bullet holes after a round of competition during Cops vs Cowboys at Garth Killpack Shooting Range in Hobble Creek on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. IAN MAULE, Daily Herald

A shooting range that was approved earlier this month by the Utah County Board of Adjustments is now awaiting approval from the Bureau of Land Management.

The shooting range will be located at approximately 3000 South 126 West in the Soldier Pass area of Utah County, according to the Board of Adjustments agenda. The range is expected to include a shooting alley and both short and long-range targets.

After the BLM approval, the project can move forward with design then construction.

Mike Nelson, Realty Specialist at the BLM Salt Lake City Field Office, said the BLM does not have an exact date for when the approval will be given, but it should be soon.

“There are some folks who had made (public) comments that we are responding to,” Nelson said. “And we’re waiting for them to respond back if they want.”

Once the process is complete, the BLM will issue a deed to Utah County for 160 acres for the shooting range, Nelson said.

“We hope to be starting some construction by next fall,”  said Richard Nielson, Utah County Public Works Director.

The shooting range is being built in response to a temporary ban on target shooting on 900 acres of BLM land in the Lake Mountain area south of Eagle Mountain.

The ban was enacted in August 2012, because some shooters were not practicing safe shooting habits.

“We had a lot of issues out on the east side of Lake Mountain, toward Saratoga Springs, with people shooting toward buildings, homes and equipment,” Nielson said. 

In addition to shooters being careless with what direction they were shooting, several wild fires were started by careless sportsmen.

Incendiary — or exploding — targets used by long-range shooters sparked several blazes, and ricochets may have been responsible for several others, Nielson said.

It is not yet decided whether target shooting will continue to be banned on the original 900 acres of BLM land.

The BLM is currently conducting an environmental study, Nelson said, and should come to a decision by late this fall.

The three options are to let the temporary ban on target shooting expire in December 2016, permanently close the acreage to target shooting or to extend the ban to include even more acreage, Nelson said.

Sometime in the future, the county hopes to include an archery range and shotgun targets as well for the new shooting range, Nielson said.

The controlled environment will make the shooting experience much safer for all involved.

“When they had just the open shooting, people could go and shoot in any direction,” Nielson said. “Most of the shooters are really good, conscientious and safe. But some don’t look down range of what they’re shooting.”

Bullets can travel half a mile to a mile past a missed target, Nieson said, which the backstops at the range will help prevent.

In addition, the range will ensure that everyone is shooting in the same direction, rather than toward each other or over each other’s heads.

Katie England covers politics, county government and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!