Shooting range proponent says plan is on target
Appeal Staff Writer
Dave Fiedler, manager of the Capitol City Gun Club, was surprised when residents were against the idea to eventually relocate the city’s shooting clubs to a site east of Sedge and South Deer Run roads.
The 305-acre site being proposed for use by rifle, skeet, pistol, trap and archery shooting is owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and the city is considering taking ownership of it.
“It’s a good location,” he said.
The area, now used by some people to illegally dump refuse and dead animals, “has more bedding than Wal-Mart,” Fiedler said.
If the land were under the control of the city and maintained by local shooting clubs, such as his on Arrowhead Drive, more people in the area would prove a deterrent to trash tossers, he insisted.
And because the shooting groups want to turn the site into a potential tourist attraction they’ll need to keep it looking good, he said.
A state-of-the-art shooting range with a large clubhouse and restaurant could serve as a venue for shooting competitions. Interested visitors would help raise the area’s lodging occupancy rates and, in turn, add to the city’s tax base, Fiedler said.
He also said the noise won’t be as bad as some people believe because of the lay of the land there. Careful design of the shooting areas can drown out much of noise, especially if firearm discharge is primarily over the ridgeline, said Roger Moellendorf, Parks and Recreation director for the city.
Whether the proposed site is fire-safe, however, likely depends on seasonal conditions. And this year has been busy for firefighters so far. Three blazes have broken out this year around the Carson Rifle Range on Flint Drive alone, said Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.
This is another location where shooting groups that might be involved with the combined range site practice. Cheatgrass there and throughout the area has been extremely flammable this year. Bullets reaching combustible vegetation growing nearby the range have been the apparent cause of some of the fires in the area. Another was caused when a bullet struck a power line, he said.
“Take a metal screwdriver and whack it on the side of a rock,” said Vincent Pirozzi, a fire department battalion chief who also shoots for sport. “Steel bullets can cause a spark.”
Tracer bullets also can cause fires, the firefighters said.
The shared range still is in “the conceptual stage,” Moellendorf also said.
Fiedler’s estimate for completion is four years, if the city obtains the land. Construction would be the quickest part and should last no more than a year.
The location is among many sites on a list for possible changes in management, either through new agreements with the owners – many of which are state and federal departments – or the city’s lands bill.
The Parks and Recreation Commission is expected to consider this and other potential land-management changes during its meeting Sept. 19. A lands bill proposal needs to be ready by December.
Residents, who also have brought up concerns about access, and people and animals being near the shooting area, will be able to weigh in on the project as it progresses, Moellendorf added.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.