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Front Page » June 27, 2006 » Local News » Travel bureau members tour county's shooting range, const...
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Travel bureau members tour county's shooting range, construction projects


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By TOM McCOURT
Sun Advocate reporter


Heavy equipment operators clear and level the ground for a 1,000 yard rifle venue at the county's shooting range project. Carbon County Travel Bureau members toured the shooting range site last week.

On June 22, members of the Carbon County Travel Bureau toured the fairgrounds and the gun range with planning director Dave Levanger.

Levanger took the group to various construction sites and explained the purpose, plan and timetable of each project.

The tour began at the county fairgrounds, where the group watched as work progressed on the new expo center.

The county planning director explained that the project is on schedule and the building could be completed by February. The building will be used for conventions, trade and travel shows.

Levanger explained that the all-terrain vehicle trail through the county will be accessible from the fairgrounds. The county facilities might be a good place for organized groups of riders to converge and begin the explorations of the ATV trails system.

He said a five-acre fish pond is being constructed at the south end of the fairgrounds.

The county planner also explained that the new entrance road into the fairgrounds is being paved with rotomill from nearby state road projects. Rotomill is old asphalt that has been pulverized for re-use on paving projects.

More rotomill is being stockpiled to assist with the Nine Mile Canyon road project slated for sometime this summer.

The group then journeyed to the new county gun range, located about 15 miles south of Price. The project is a few miles east of the old Wattis town site along North Spring Wash. The county bought 600 acres of private property to construct the facility.

Work is in progress on the gun ranges, caretaker building, law enforcement training center, hospitality center and cowboy action shooting venue.

Large road equipment is scraping the sage and leveling the 500 and 1,000 yard gun ranges while work continues on the buildings.

Levanger explained that North Spring produces a good flow, but the water has proven to be unsuitable for human consumption.

Cisterns are being constructed at the venue sites. Potable water will be trucked into the site.

Restrooms will be modern facilities with flush toilets and septic systems.

The hospitality centers will be equipped with meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, and picnic areas.

Carbon officials hope to use the county ranges and facilities to accommodate national and international shooting events. There are several groups around the country with members who do sport and competition shooting on a regular basis.

The shooting sports are gaining popularity each year and the nationwide Single Action Shooting Society is said to have signed on 20,000 new members last year.

If the groups can be drawn to the area, Carbon County could be a new national center for shooting sports events.

"This might be the best facility in the world when we get through with it," Levanger said.

An area of special interest is the cowboy action shooting area. Cowboy action shooting is a sport that has swept the country over the past decade.

Wanna-be cowboys and cowgirls dress up in period costumes and shoot vintage firearms in a number of creative ways and at a variety of unique targets.

The shooters wear colorful costumes and are known to each other by colorful names.

Big Nose George, Terrible Tilley, and Gun Smoke Gus are a few of the characters who frequent the cowboy action circuit.

The whole thing is a spoof of the old west and the gunfights on the streets of Dodge City.

The county is building a remarkable cowboy action shooting facility that resembles an old frontier town.

The place is called "Old Castle Gate." There are more than one dozen different target areas disguised as frontier storefronts, livery stables and the OK Corral.

The mock town is being built in a depression surrounded by hills along North Spring Wash.

The location offers excellent target backdrop and safety potential for the raucous, staged events.

The frontier town is expected to be completed by October and Butch Cassidy might rob the stage there before Halloween.

Overall, Carbon County has undertaken some ambitious and expensive projects in order to promote tourism and sell the area as a unique, diverse area for conventions, trade shows, and vacations.

County commissioners have supported the projects to promote tourism in the Carbon area.



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