SALT LAKE CITY -- For more than a decade, Blake Korous has spent a good portion of his free time at the Police Mutual Aid Association (PMAA) gun range in Parley’s canyon.
“I started coming up here, it’s been about 12 years,” said Korous.
Korous is one of several people concerned the range will soon shut down. The land is owned by Salt Lake City and the lease with PMAA ends on March 4.
“We think it’s kind of a no-brainer for the city to be able to release this to a non-profit to keep this running for their own law enforcement,” said Korous.
Korous and other sportsman are trying to form a new non-profit to take over management of the range. But it may not be so simple.
“There are some legal challenges, some environmental concerns and certainly a worry for everyone about the dangers of fire,” said Patrick Leary, the chief of staff for the Salt Lake City Mayor’s office.
In 2015, a fire started at the range and spread up the hill behind. It was brought under control, in part, through the use of retardant planes. The city says any new operator will need to have proof of wildfire insurance.
“We’re very very concerned about having the gun range in a mountainous area with that danger,” said Leary.
Korous acknowledges the wildfire concerns, but points out closing the range could put more people on public lands for target practice, potentially increasing fire danger even more. And the number of shooters using the range, according to Korous, is not small.
“We had 10,000 public check-ins last year,” said Korous.