Basalt targets funds for shooting range |

Basalt targets funds for shooting range

BASALT – There might be a way to quiet the ongoing controversy over the Basalt shooting range after all.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife has $500,000 available for shooting range improvements. Basalt plans to seek some of the funds for noise abatement.

The fight over the noise from the shooting range has flared up every year or two for more than a decade. The shooting range is near Lake Christine, within the Basalt State Wildlife Area. Sounds rolls off the hills just a short way from downtown.

Some people say they don’t mind the noise; others say it drives them crazy. The wildlife division has been hesitant to make major changes because of the number of public benefits, such as gun safety for youngsters, opportunities for hunters to adjust their scopes and sights, and recreation for gun enthusiasts.

Hundreds of hunters and sportsmen lobbied the wildlife division at a public meeting last winter to keep the hours the same and not make further changes to appease the complainers. But critics have been persistent, and they convinced the Town Council this fall to appoint a citizens’ committee to study the noise and potential solutions to dampen it.

Committee members took a field trip to the range recently and identified some projects Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane labeled “low-hanging fruit” to try to reduce noise. The best potential would come from expanding structures in the shooting sections of the pistol and rifle ranges, Kane said.

Basalt will apply for the funds before the Dec. 31 deadline. Local entities must provide a 25 percent match to funds awarded.

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