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Grants available to help Minnesota's shooting ranges

By MWA, 05/20/18, 3:15PM CDT

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It’s hard to overstate how successful the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League has been. Thousands of students from every corner of the state now participate in what’s been called the fastest growing high school sport in the state. In our minds, that’s a great thing. It’s wonderful to introduce kids to the shooting sports and teach them how to be safe around firearms at the same time. In addition, it’s likely at least some of these kids will take their interest of shooting and try hunting, and we all know that more hunters equal more money for conservation.

But as the unprecedented growth of the clay target league has continued, one of the issues has been space at shooting ranges. Simply put, there isn’t enough of it.

Which is why we’re sharing the DNR news release below. It pertains to more than $300,000 that’s available for shooting ranges. If there’s a shooting range near you, please make sure they’re aware of the availability of these grant dollars.

New round of shooting range grants available

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced the availability of $330,000 in shooting range grants to build or improve trap, skeet, rifle, pistol or five-stand shooting ranges in the state. The application period opens May 15 and closes June 29. 

“There’s been a surge in interest in shooting sports in Minnesota and across the United States, and these grants have helped shooting ranges throughout the state expand, improve or upgrade their facilities and give more and more people a place to shoot,” said Chuck Niska, DNR shooting range program coordinator.

Shooting clubs that allow members of the public to shoot at reasonable times and for a reasonable fee are eligible for the grants, which require a one-to-one match.

There are two levels of grants available: Small grants, which are between $2,500 and $25,000, and large grants, which are above $25,000. All grantees must verify current female participation data and show an intent to improve future diversity opportunities.

The $330,000 that’s available is from a $2 million appropriation the state Legislature made in 2015 to help recreational shooting clubs develop or improve shooting sports facilities for public use, with an emphasis on enhancing participation opportunities for youth.

So far, those grant dollars have been used as part of 60 projects throughout the state. Additionally, the DNR in 2014 used an appropriation from the Legislature to fund 102 grants totaling more than $1.6 million.

“Shooting sports are alive and well in Minnesota and we continue to see strong interest among shooting range operators who want to improve their facilities and make them available to even more people,” Niska said.