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Planned El Dorado shooting range moves forward

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, April 27, 2014, at 7:25 a.m.

Seth Turner is planning on central Kansas shooters having a new place to practice with rifles and handguns within about two years. Turner, El Dorado State Park manager, said plans are progressing for a shooting range at the park.

“So far we haven’t had any issues or problems with (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) approval,” he said. “I’d love to start moving dirt sometime in 2015.”

He estimates it could take about nine months to complete the range that is planned to have 56 shooting stations with ranges from 15 to 100 yards. Projected costs are between $1 and $1.5 million, most of which would come from federal excise taxes placed on hunting and shooting equipment. Turner said the project is a joint effort of the parks, wildlife and education divisions of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The range is planned to be located just west of state park headquarters, and face northward.

“It would have 20-foot end berms and 8-foot side berms,” Turner said. “It would be a lot like the range at Hillsdale (State Park).”

The Hillsdale State Park range has been open for several months, has met all federal criteria that includes an overhead baffle system that uses elevated baffles to prevent bullets from passing over the top of the end berm. Another area will be left open for shooting targets with shotguns, but only under special events like hunter education classes.

“That won’t be a standard option,” said Turner. “We don’t want to compete with local businesses that are currently doing that already.”

Plans also include a building on the site where things such as hunter education or concealed carry classes can be taught.

Turner expects a firearms range to be popular. An archery range that was opened about two years ago certainly has been well-used.

“We’ve already had to extend the parking lot,” Turner said. “It’s been real popular, it’s going real well for us.”

Fly-fishing film fest Saturday – Fly-fishing junkies should be able to get their fix at the Great Plains Nature Center on May 3, as the center and the Flatland Fly Fishers group host a series of nine professionally-produced short films.

Each film lasts about 15 minutes, and will feature fly-fishing footage from the Florida Keys to Alaska, and Mongolia to Argentina. Species of fish pursued range from tiny brook trout to giant sharks, northern pike and musky.

The nine videos are part of a traveling presentation, the Costa Fly Fishing Film Tour. Local businesses Backwoods, Ark River Anglers and Classic Destiny custom rods are funding the event. There will be a $10 admission charge to help raise funds for the Flatland Fly Fishers, who hold assorted programs annually to help introduce more Kansans, especially youth, to fly fishing.

Tickets can be purchased at Backwoods, 1900 N. Rock Road, Suite 108, or at Ark Valley Anglers, 1617 S. Longfellow, Suite 2. The event is slated from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Nature Center’s auditorium.

For more information go to www.flatlandflyfishers.org.

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