SD GFP Shooting Complex
SD Game, Fish and Parks proposed shooting range, in Meade County SD, just east of Elk Vale Road and north of Elk Creek. – Now called the proposed “South Dakota Shooting Sports Complex”, previously it was named after Rapid City, but the Meade County Commission objected to naming a facility in Meade County after Rapid City.
First below find list of actions to take,
Scroll below that to find a discussion of the issue and facts.
A. Recent past deadline – June 28th, 2022, Meade County, 1 pm
UPDATE 6/28 results – On 6/28/22 Meade County Commission unanimously denied SDGFP section line relocation request, but GFP is expected to submit a new revised relocation proposal in the near future. We are not sure, but due to public notice requirements and the Commission’s schedule, the next possible future relocation hearing could be on the 4th Tuesday in August (8/23/22). The new relocation might be from Elk Vale Rd heading east to follow the slanted line of proposed road GFP will build at the south entrance, till it gets near the edge of the property and then follow the property boundary. This would still put the some of the section line in the highwater of the pond and also bi-sect the dug-out.
Meade County Commission Public Hearing on Section Line Relocation at GFP proposed shooting range (near Elk Vale Road and Elk Creek) was at 1 pm on Tuesday June 28th. The meeting will have begun at 9 am. There is a recording of the meeting on the Meade County Facebook page – scroll down to June 28th .https://www.facebook.com/meadecountysd/
County Building is located at 1300 Sherman Street STE 212 | Sturgis, SD 57785,
Go to Board docs for details and agenda of the Commission meeting, using this link.
The 6/28 agenda is posted & you can go to the June 28th meeting agenda to – and see various documents related to issue to download
C. Iterative deadlines -SDGFPP Commission Meets
Written comments can be uploaded here or submitted at an on-line comment portal https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ . If you want the Commission to read your comments before meetings, which are normally on Thursdays submit by midnight CT on Sunday before the meeting. Comments can be given to Commissioners directly as individuals, at each’s contact address/phone any time: https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/members/ , https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/ Agenda will be posted here when close to the date : https://gfp.sd.gov/commission/information/ If you check the agenda and attend the Commission meeting by Zoom you will usually hear updates on the Shooting Range.
Written comments by Sunday July 3rd, 2022 at midnight CT. https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/
PAST – March 3 & 4th, was a formal Commission meeting– Game, Fish & Parks Commission meeting in Pierre & Zoom. GFP Commission considered a resolution to purchase the property from the Foundation, who bought it in 2021 to hold for GFP while formal appraisal of the property was done. in 2021 GFP promised to buy the land & GFP bought it in 2022.
B. REASONS TO OPPOSE AT THIS TIME
Rapid City Shooting Range – Please either oppose or ask for an EIS to be done before building or funding it
Protect the water quality in the area from lead pollution.
You can write or call Meade County Commission, Game, Fish & Parks (GFP) staff and/or GFP Commission will make decisions. Read the draft EA & call up DANR staff reviewing the EA. The USFWS staff in Denver is overseeing a NEPA analysis but GFP and had released the EA for comment (first comment period is closed). (GFP is asking for the USFWS’s Pittman Robertson’s grant program to help pay for the project. Either the federal government or the USFWS policy requires NEPA for projects creating outdoor gun ranges. If FWS approves funding it will stipulate some requirements in a contract). You can write or call your legislator (as GFP was asking the legislature for money to pay for this project & failed to get it in 2022 – scoll down)
Game, Fish and Parks has been unable to fund raise enough donations or grants to pay for building the range and were asking the 2022 legislature for millions to help fund the project & did not get the 2.5 million, perhaps they will try again next year . Thus folks can contact your SD Legislator with concerns.
SDGFP hoped to break ground in spring 2022. They were asking the SD National Guard to help them build it – but the Guard said NO.
The site is hilly & especially rugged in north end. The EPA recommends flat areas for shooting ranges, thus we assume major land sculpting & storm water management has to happen. That will be expensive. What other GFP projects for wildlife or parks could be afforded if a site that better conformed with EPAs location guidance had been chosen?
C. Past/EXPIRED deadlines with respect to this alert
1. Release of an Environmental Assessment for public comment, comments were due 3/20/24. (revised deadline). It is posted on USFWS website for the 30-day public comment period. This EA is seriously flawed. It does not provide sufficient information on management of storm water or lead on the site — it just claims it will comply with EPA’s “Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges”, without adequate details. It includes no indication of any baseline testing of surface or underground water, air or soil & does not provide for an alternative of selecting another site. Its’ conclusions about surface waters on & near the site & associated fish & wildlife are inadequate/wrong. It’s discussion on lead reclamation is just part of a sentence. It does not consider impacts to archeological resources from visitors to facility. Discussion of various impacts too cursory or missing. The EA is extremely inadequate and does not justify a FONSI (finding of no significant impact) or justify the Legislature supporting SB 175. PHAS comment letter to House Members on SB 175: https://www.scribd.com/document/563057586/Please-Oppose-SB-175-a-Bill-to-Partially-Fund-the-Proposed-Shooting-Complex-of-GFP-at-Elk-Vale-Rd-Near-Elk-Creek-in-Meade-County
Public comments were accepted for a 30-day comment period, ending March 24, 2022, [revised deadline] and could be electronically submitted to: fw6_FAGrants@fws.gov Copies of the Draft EA, which include details of the proposed action and the alternatives considered, are available online at: https://fws.gov/library/collections/wsfr-rapid-city-south-dakota-proposed-shooting-range Those without internet access may request copies by calling the Services’ Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program at 303-236-8165. Comments will be accepted until March 24, 2022, and should be sent to: Chief, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver, CO, 80225.
Link to Draft Environmental assessment
Links to Appendix
Link to Press release
2 Meade County Commission (MCC) is being asked to take actions related to this project, but has not yet done so. Game, Fish & Parks made a presentation to the Meade County Commission on the morning of Tuesday 2/8/2022. They have sent a letter to the Meade County Commission (MCC)which was discussed at the Feb 22nd meeting of the Meade County Commission, stating intent to ask for relocation of a section line and offering a future proposal about road maintenance – link to letter: https://go.boarddocs.com/sd/meade/Board.nsf/files/CBRQES68F69D/$file/SDGFPLETTER.pdf SD GFP while seeking funding from the legislature, wants to be able to say they have worked out issues with the Meade County Commission. The Meade County Commission does not want Meade County to bear the cost of the maintaining 3 miles of gravel road, that the traffic from Rapid City and from other counties, will travel across to the range. The Commission has suggested it be paved. SDGFP needs to get a section line vacated or relocated and they have to ask the Meade Commission to do that.
Meade County Commission could adopt an ordinance about location and construction of shooting ranges, but has not yet chosen to do that, and if they don’t before construction starts this range would be grandfathered in. Visit Meade’s Board docs to see agenda for 2/22/2022. The Meade County Commission took no action on 2/22/22. Just listened to report of staff on communications with GFP.
MCC will still be asked to take action on this project. To contact Commission visit link: https://www.meadecounty.org/commission
Sturgis City Council considered a draft letter on 2/22/22/ stating approval for the proposed Shooting Range, but took no action (Sturgis remained neutral).
3. PAST (- Bills killed). Look up votes and thank those who voted against SB 175
Oppose SB 175 – https://sdlegislature.gov/Session/Bill/23361/231510 – about 5 million dollar appropriation request. This was in Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday 2/10/2022. It was referred first to Joint Appropriations, Then to Senate Appropriations – for a hearing on 2/17/22. It passed both committees with 2 votes against in each committee. It went to Senate floor and was scheduled for Tuesday 2/22nd, 2022 and had to be voted on by Wednesday. They needed two thirds of senate to vote for it, due to emergency clause & it passed with 5 votes against it. It went back to the House & the House sent it to House Appropriations Committee. – in Committee 3/2/22 in afternoon 3 pm or 15 minutes after session. Hyperlinks to our testimony against this bill in Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources and Senate Appropriations are posted to our legislature web page. This was killed in House Appropriations Committee, but it was “smoked out” for a vote on Monday 3/7/22. A majority vote was needed to put it on the calendar and then 2/3rds must vote to approve it. PHAS comment letter to House Members: https://www.scribd.com/document/563057586/Please-Oppose-SB-175-a-Bill-to-Partially-Fund-the-Proposed-Shooting-Complex-of-GFP-at-Elk-Vale-Rd-Near-Elk-Creek-in-Meade-County The bill failed to pass the House – vote : YEAS 39, NAYS 30, The Reconsideration motion failed – vote : YEAS 35, NAYS 34.
MORE RECENT ACTIONS – LAST DITCH EFFORT
There was an attempt to put SB 175 into HB 1166 at aConference Committee Meeting on that HB 1166 on 3/9/22. at 11:30 pm CT. All 6 people on the Committee voted for SB 175 on the floor – one is the bill sponsor David Johnson. The conference committee could not agree on what to do and thus we believe HB 1166 and the attempt to amend it is dead. Link to info on Conference Committee: https://www.sdlegislature.gov/Session/ConferenceCommittees/64 Link to the proposed amended version of HB 1166: https://mylrc.sdlegislature.gov/api/Documents/236283.pdfTh
4. March 3 & 4th, was a formal Commission meeting- Game, Fish & Parks Commission meeting in Pierre & Zoom. GFP Commission considered a resolution to purchase the property from the Foundation, who bought it to hold for GFP while formal appraisal of the property was done.
Results – Commission approved the land purchase. You can still write in opposition to it, but at this point, need to ask for strict environmental protections or to use the land for some other purpose – such as a park.
Written comments in opposition to the land purchase or the shooting range can be uploaded here or submitted at an on-line comment portal https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/ .
SD Game, Fish and Parks Commission meetings – Evening of 2/21/22, 5:30 – 7:30 pm CT, informal – one-on-one meeting opportunity at Arrowwood Resort, Oacoma, RSVP by 2/16/22, Rachel.Comes@state.sd.us,
along the section line for public access – without the move, this reservation might influence Range design/management .Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs. Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs.
January 28th, was the deadline to comment to John Kanta of SD GFP if you object to the National Guard assisting with construction of the shooting range proposal. “john.kanta-state.sd.us” <email@example.com> .If you don’t object by the deadline you waive the right to object. A public notice says:
7. January 25th , 2022 House Agriculture & NaturalResources killed HB 1049, that would have appropriated 5 million for the shooting range. Senator David Johnson responded with a similar bill – SB 175 in the Senate, which has passed the Senate sent back to the House. Killed in Appropriations, Smoked out on floor, up on March 7th on floor. Killed on House floor. Attempt to insert funding text to another bill about funding roads near Palisades State Park – HB 1166, in conference committee. That failed also.
8 . January 4th, Tuesday, 2022 – range was discussed at the SDGFP Commission Meeting
9. December 21st, 2021 Tuesday – Meade County Commission Meeting discussed project and listened to to GFP and public proponents, and to opponents but took no action on the proposed letter about the shooting range..Meade County wants 3 miles of gravel on Elk Vale road paved, but GFP is proposing to share maintenance costs