County to work with GFP on range

BROOKINGS – South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks will significantly reimburse Brookings County for county expenses incurred in maintaining the Brookings County Outdoor Adventure Center’s indoor pistol range and its upkeep.

According to a new agreement between GFP and Brookings County, the county is to provide a safe environment for the public to enjoy shooting sports at the facility, emphasizing marksmanship, hunter education and a place to discharge firearms.

As part of that, the county has agreed to enhance and maintain different aspects at the BCOAC’s pistol range, such as routine maintenance of filtration and ventilation systems, the target retrieval system, the backstop, lead mining and replacement of indoor baffles and other sound-damping materials.

The county in the agreement consented to pay for the costs of this maintenance up front, with the GFP reimbursing the county afterward 75 percent of the total costs, up to a point. GFP can pay up to about $70,000, utilizing funds through hunter education funds from the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration program.

“And we might not reach that (cap) in certain years,” Brookings County Commissioner Ryan Krogman said.

The grant must be applied for each year, but so far, that hasn’t been an issue. The previous owners of the OAC had successfully obtained funds from the grant, and Krogman said the county would likely continue to apply for the grant in future years.

The reason for the high cost of regular maintenance at the range is in part due to its high-end ventilation and filtration systems. Those systems help filter harmful particles, including lead, in the air that result from discharging firearms indoors.

According to Krogman, of the 30-some filters, roughly half need to be replaced on a monthly basis.

“There’s some electronic (filters) that are very expensive, and there are some smaller ones like the ones you put in your furnace,” he said.

As part of the agreement, the county has agreed to keep the pistol range open during regular business hours. This isn’t a change from actual practice thus far, however, but simply establishes it in an official capacity.

Contact Eric Sandbulte at [email protected]

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