Recently, a great deal of controversy has erupted, over the modernization of the existing rifle range, once used by the Navy during World War Two. Farragut State Park, once a World War 11 traingin base, was deeded to the state of Idaho in two parts. One, mostly the southern portions are park and the northern side of the highway, is reserved by deed as a wildlife protection area, administered by Idaho Fish & Game.In a telephone interview with park manager, Randall Butt, here are some of the park's position on the matter:
The first phase consists of modernizing the range itself, but not enlarging it. Safety improvements such as concrete barriers between ranges, fencing to keep people and animals from wandering onto the range unintentionally, and direct access from Perimeter Road.
The second phase will include a building housing a hunter safety program. The current footprint of the range is about 300 yds by 600 yds.
The current use includes national guard, sheriff and police practice, swat teams and action shoots, such as fast draw and black powder events.
It is anticipated that the concrete walls surrounding the firing pits will mitigate sound travel, but Ranger Butt said, "there is no way we can accurately assess the extent of that".
He also emphasized that the property is not State Park land, but is deeded to fish & game. No tax dollars are used for that department according to the head ranger, and no General Fund taxes will be uses for this improvement.
It appears that from my standpoint, having heard only one side of this is that meeting with and getting neighborhood involvement would have soothed many feelings. The single issue that seems to pop up is that noise levels and frequency of use combined will alter the quality of life in Bayview.
A town meeting is being held February 8 at 7:00 PM in the Bayview community Center, where Fish & Game will discuss the issues with interested parties. I urge those of you that read this and either disagree or agree with the Park Manager's position, to respond here in the comments section.