Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

SD Stockgrowers oppose GF&P $10 million shooting range located next to ranches, near housing developments

RAPID CITY, SD – The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA) Board of Directors recently voted to oppose the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (GF&P) proposed shooting range complex.

The proposed 400 acres firearm complex lies just north of Rapid City on Elk Vale Road in Meade County.

The SDSGA has strong policy condemning the removal of land from production agriculture which can have a detrimental effect on the local tax revenue and the economy. SDSGA’s policy states they will, “actively and adamantly oppose state, federal, or other governmental agency’s purchase and/or acquisition of private lands, including lands from non-governmental organizations (NGO).

The proposed sight for the shooting range complex in southern Meade County is currently owned by the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation,an NGO based in Pierre that purchased the land from a private landowner.

Not only is the SDSGA concerned about taking land out of production and off the tax rolls, but local landowners are also concerned that plans include building across a section line, which could affect access to their property.

Additionally, landowners are concerned with the lack of planning for access to the firearms complex itself. Currently, the only access to the proposed $10 million facility would be via gravel roads. With the heavy increases in traffic that is sure to come with such a facility, local residents and agriculture landowners are left with many questions on how these issues will be addressed.

The facility will be paid for by a combination of funding sources. Currently House Bill 1049 which would appropriate $2.5 million from the State’s general fund and earmark an additional $2.5 million from the GF&P annual budget is scheduled to be debated in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, 1/25. The remaining funds will be raised through private donations. The GF&P plan to break ground on the complex in May 2022.

SDSGA encourages people to contact their legislators to voice their concerns with HB 1049 that would, in part, fund the shooting complex and the government acquisition of private agricultural lands.

You can find contact information for your legislators at:
https://sdlegislature.gov/Legislators/Contacts/64

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Jerek Dufner

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