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Proposed 528-acre shooting range near Payson draws support and opposition

Posted at 4:01 PM, Jun 19, 2024

PAYSON, Utah — A proposed 528-acre outdoor shooting range in mountains near Payson has come as a shock to some as the community is split on what they want the land used for.

Glenn Parks dreams of moving to the area when visits and listens to the peace and quiet of West Mountain, but the sounds of his happy place could be replaced with gunshots.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program, a national organization, has filed an application to turn the land into a shooting range.

"From everything I’ve seen of their facilities across the United States, they just run a very tight program," said Payson resident Mike Nelson.

If the facility is approved, there would be an outdoor range, an archery range and an indoor range for air rifles, as well as a clubhouse and classrooms.

"I’m just excited about it," added Nelson. "I really, really hope they can put it in without offending the locals and without hurting people’s feelings."

Residents have expressed concerns over the environmental impact and fire risks with the range. Just a few weeks ago, a gun at a Stansbury Island shooting range sparked a 40-acre fire.

Locals also might not be happy about the noise.

In a statement to FOX 13 News, the Civilian Marksmanship Program said firing lines will be at a maximum distance from residential areas, and that they will construct berms and plant trees to mitigate the sound.

The group's chief commercial officer claimed that there is lead in the land from uncontrolled shooting, which they plan to clean, while controlling the metal through berms and mitigate it every 7-10 years.

"It’s open. It’s got a vast backstop so the rounds are put safely where they need to be," said Nelson.

"I’d like to see it stay just like it is," countered Parks.

The Bureau of Land Management’s scoping period was set to end this week, but they say that because of the response the agency has received, they plan to extend their time frame and plan a public meeting at a yet-to-be-determined date, time and location.