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Shooters Welcome Range Reopening

Farragut Hunters in the Idaho Panhandle are happy about the reopening of a local shooting range where they can safely sight in their hunting rifles. The 100-yard range at Farragut State Park reopened to the public on Saturday, June 1. The range is west of Bayview, Idaho between the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint. The range is administered jointly by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). Itis now open for public shooting the first and third Saturdays of each month through the summer on a first-come, first-served basis.  Hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. There is a $5 range use fee in addition to the Farragut State Park entrance fee.  Firearms are limited to rifles including .22 caliber, centerfire rifles less than .50 caliber, and muzzleloaders up to .54 caliber. For now, no handgun shooting is allowed/News Release, Idaho Department of Fish & Game, via SR Outdoors blog. More here. (Duane Rasmussen file photo: Rich Piazza patches target at Farragut Park shooting range for re-use)

Question: Are you losing sleep re: reopening of Farragut State Park shooting range?

Shooters welcome reopening of Farragut range

SHOOTING — There's clearly a demand for good-quality, safe shooting facilities, as demonstrated by the interest in last weekend's reopening of the range at Farragut State Park.

Here's a media release with details on using the facility from Idaho Fish and Game.

Farragut Hunters in the Idaho Panhandle are happy about the reopening of a local shooting range where they can safely sight in their hunting rifles. The 100-yard range at Farragut State Park reopened to the public on Saturday, June 1. The range is west of Bayview, Idaho between the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

The range is administered jointly by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). Itis now open for public shooting the first and third Saturdays of each month through the summer on a first-come, first-served basis.  Hours are 10am until 5pm. 

There is a $5.00 range use fee in addition to the Farragut State Park entrance fee.  Firearms are limited to rifles including .22 caliber, centerfire rifles less than .50 caliber, and muzzleloaders up to .54 caliber. For now, no handgun shooting is allowed. 

The Farragut range was originally part of the Farragut Naval Training Station built in 1942.  After the second world war, the range was turned over to the state and opened for use as a public shooting range. 

The range was open to the public for about 60 years before being temporarily closed by court order over concerns about noise and safety when plans were announced to improve the range.

The IDFG has used $260,000 from hunting and fishing fines, timber sales and National Rifle Association grants to improve safety and reduce noise at the range. The work entailed lowering the range, building 12-foot berms to muffle noise and contain bullets, and installing overhead safety baffles.

During the time the range was closed, shooters were sighting in firearms in places where there were no specific safety rules, no established backstops, and no boundary fences or warning signs.  Many of these places were on national forest or nearby state lands. Used targets and empty casings were left behind in frequently used locations and the areas became littered eyesores.

The reopened range has strict safety rules with on-site supervision by IDFG, high berms and sand pit backstops, noise and bullet containment baffles, perimeter fencing, and facilities for disposal of used targets and casings.

“We’re certainly pleased to reopen the Range,” said Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore.  “Former range users will see a dramatic difference in the shooting venue, and neighbors can see the steps we’ve taken to improve safety and reduce noise,” Moore said.

The range is currently authorized for up to 500 shooter visits per year.  A hearing is scheduled for later in the year about possibly removing that limit.

In the future, Fish and Game plans to complete work to open a 50-yard and a 200-yard shooting area of the range.

Farragut shooting range reopening after years-long court fight

The shooting range at Farragut State Park in North Idaho will reopen Saturday morning after a prolonged legal fight; the 70-year-old range has been closed since 2006 after neighboring homeowners sued over noise and errant bullets. This morning, 1st District Judge John Mitchell issued a court order permitting Fish & Game to operate the range, though it will allow only 500 shooter visits per year initially. Mitchell scheduled a court hearing for Sept. 30 to consider allowing more use beyond that; S-R reporter Scott Maben has a full report here.

The injunction shutting down the range was ordered until noise and safety improvements could be made; the state spent $260,000 on improvements, but Mitchell ruled some rounds still could fly out of the range. The Idaho Supreme Court overturned his ruling in November, while leaving it to Mitchell to rule on whether it'd be safe to exceed 500 shooter visits per year.

Finally! Farragut shooting range set to open Saturday

SHOOTING — After years of legal wrangling that closed the facility in 2006, the beefed up and controversial shooting range at Farragut State Park is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, according to a preliminary story just posted by S-R North Idaho reporter Scott Maben.

See more in the paper tomorrow; and expect more legal wrangling to come.

Farragut Shooting Range To Reopen

The shooting range at Farragut State Park will reopen Saturday after a prolonged legal fight over noise and safety concerns. The range last was used in the fall 2006, and has been closed under a court injunction since 2007 while nearby homeowners pursued a lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Fish and Game over firearms noise and the danger of errant bullets. Last November the Idaho Supreme Court lifted an injunction that has kept the shooting range closed since early 2007, and this morning First District Judge John Mitchell signed an order allowing Fish and Game to operate the range again. The agency, however, is limited to 500 total range visits a year/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Thoughts?

Idaho Supreme Court orders Farragut shooting range reopened, overrules lower court

In a victory for sport shooters, the Idaho Supreme Court today lifted an injunction that has kept the Farragut State Park shooting range closed for almost six years; you can read our full report here from S-R reporter Scott Maben. The decision will permit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to reopen the Farragut range to as many as 500 shooters a year, and possibly more than that if a district court judge determines noise and safety concerns have been addressed.

You can read the court's unanimous decision here, which was written by Justice Jim Jones. It also reversed a district judge's finding that a 2008 law, the Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range Act, was unconstitutional; the law was passed in part to protect the Farragut range from the ongoing lawsuit from neighbors challenging it on safety and nuisance grounds. The state Department of Fish & Game appealed the lower court's ruling; the court sided with the department, and against the neighbors.
  

Court: Farragut Range Can Reopen

In this Oct. 15,2010. SR file photo, Dave Leptich, of Idaho Fish and Game discussed improvements of the shooting range at Farragut State Park. (SR file photo: Kathy Plonka)

In a victory for sport shooters, the Idaho Supreme Court today lifted an injunction that has kept the Farragut State Park shooting range closed for almost six years. The decision will permit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to reopen the Farragut range to 500 shooters per year, and possibly more than that if a district court judge determines noise and safety concerns have been addressed. The Supreme Court also reversed a district judge’s finding that the Idaho Outdoor Sport Shooting Range is unconstitutional/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: Agree/disagree?

Idaho Park N’Ski areas offer free access Jan. 7

WINTER SPORTS – Idaho Park N’ Ski areas —  such as Farragut State Park, Priest Lake State Park and Fourth of July Pass — will offer free access to groomed trails for nordic skiing and snowshoeing on Saturday (Jan. 7).

Free Ski-Snowshoe Day is promoted by Idaho State Parks and Recreation Department at 18 designated Park N’ Ski areas and snow-belt state parks.   

Some areas will have special events that offer free ski/snowshoe clinics, equipment rentals and/or refreshments.

Read on for a list of scheduled events:

Activities abound for nordic skiers, snowshoers

WINTER SPORTS —  Free-heel skiers and snowshoers have plenty of events to sample in the next two weeks. Among them:

Snowshoeing activites organized by Spokane Parks and Recreation include:

  • Winter survival youth camp, Dec. 28-29, to learn snowshoeing and snow shelter building skills.
  • Mount Spokane guided snowshoe tour with transportation, Dec. 31.
  • Women’s guided  Mount Spokane snowshoe tour, Jan. 1.

Info: spokaneparks.org

Nordic skiing lessons, Dec. 31-Jan. 1, taught as a fundraiser by Spokane Nordic junior ski team at Mount Spokane. Info: email selkirkxc@yahoo.com or call 922-6080.

 

Idaho Ski-Snowshoe Free Day, Jan. 7, at 18 Park N’Ski area across the state. Skiing and snowshoeing lessons at Farragut and Priest Lake state parks.

Info: parksand- recreation.idaho.gov/

Winterfest at 49 Degrees North, Jan. 7-8.

Features more than a dozen activities, seminars and events. EPIC Hill Climb kicks it off on Jan. 7 followed by telemark and cross-country gear demos, free lessons, gate racing,avalanche seminars and evening nordic ski and snowshoe tours.

Jan. 8 includes a nordic ski race and paintball biathlon, plus tours.

Info: mountaingear.com.

Ferry County Rail Trail Ski Day, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. based at trailhead north of Curlew.

Groomed trails as conditions allow, free ski lessons, gear and refreshments.

Info: ferrycountytrail.com.

Idaho pitches plan to restore native vegetation at Farragut State Park

STATE PARKS – A more natural view toward Lake Pend Oreille could be in the works to greet visitors to the popular Jokulhlaup lookout in Farragut State Park.

The Idaho Fish and Game Department is planning to restore the view shed and the adjacent ponderosa pine habitat on property the agency manages at Farragut State Park and Wildlife Management Area.

An open house to discuss the project and take public comments is set for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m on Aug. 17 at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Regional Office, 2885 W. Kathleen Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.

The project includes removing trees and brush from 5 acres to restore the view shed at Jokulhlaup lookout near Blackwell point. Shade tolerant trees and dense brush would be removed from approximately 8 acres of Ponderosa Pine forests.

Wildfires would have done this job naturally in the years before the region was developed.

Read on for details.

Panhandle nordic areas ready to groom

NORDIC SKIING — Fourth of July Pass cross-country ski trails should be in shape for skiing by the end of this week, according to Geoff Harvey of the Panhandle Nordic Club.

Forest Service crews were out clearing blowdowns off the trails Monday and a groomer should be out on Wednesday and Friday, he said.

Farragut State Park grooming is likely to begin in time for this weekend.

By the way, the club will meet on Dec. 7 at the Forest Service Fernan Ranger Station for a meeting, including a film on skiing tips.

Most important, they’ll have a cookie exchange. It’s a fun way to exchange of your favorite cookies for another type, but some of the treats are skimmed off to give to the road plowing crews as a thank you for the time they devote to clearing the parking area for skiers at Fourth of July Pass.