The Oregon Trail Range in Chubbuck rents their land from the Bureau of Land Management - but in a year from now that could not be the case.

"The BLM wants to give it to the county, but before that can happen they got to have, it has to go through Congress,” says Bannock County Commissioner Steve Hadley.

The BLM says they are encouraged to dispose of or transfer ownership of anything that produces hazardous materials, like gun ranges.

"Even though we have a ten year lease we are at the risk of the BLM coming in and saying we don't allow this activity anymore," says Chuck Howell, President of the Gate City Sports Shooting Association.

Senator Risch will be introducing a proposal in the 2016 Legislature about transferring the land to Bannock County, but discussion goes all the way back to early 2016.

"They wanted to understand what the safety concerns were,” says Chuck Howeel. “What the improvements would be, that’s what generated the study, that’s what generated our actions."

This comes after property owners were upset that shots were impacting their private property around the range.

"The property owners around the range probably don't think so, but I think it will help out," says Steven Hadley.

The range created many 12 to 14 foot berms and a bay at 380 yards that has the same backstop at about 15 to 20 feet.

They also are making positive changes for shooter safety, such as berms in-between different shooting areas.

Changes were also made to the 40 acres they were granted to the east of the range.

"People cannot set up targets there anymore so it keeps all of the target setting within the range boundaries now," says Chuck Howell.

And now that two new commissioners were elected this month, the range is hoping to educate them on the situation.

If the county doesn't take ownership and the BLM doesn't support the range - some believe more safety issues would be created if the Oregon Trail Range were to no longer exist.

"Unfortunately what it would mean is more people going out to rural areas and setting up,” says Chuck Howell. “And shooting without necessarily being aware of safety issues."


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.