The Arizona Game and Fish Department wants to continue to improve and expand public shooting ranges across the state by providing grant funding to qualified applicants involved in the development, improvement or maintenance of public shooting and archery ranges.
The department is accepting grant applications now through Jan. 15, 2013. Shooting clubs, sportsmen’s groups and government agencies operating public shooting ranges are encouraged to apply. Privately owned for-profit ranges are not eligible for this program.
“This program has been instrumental in the vitality of shooting ranges across the state,” said Anthony Chavez, Game and Fish shooting ranges administrator. “It has afforded ranges the opportunity to expand safety barriers, add capabilities such as clay target shooting and archery shooting, improve ADA accessibility, and update and modernize these facilities.”
Examples of projects that could be eligible for funds include shooting range development and redevelopment, construction of noise abatement structures and safety berms, installation of shooting pads and stations, and construction or improvement of access roads and parking lots.
Grants are available through a competitive application process each year. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission determines how much money is available, but generally the total is about $100,000. The maximum grant award is $50,000 per project.
Application packets are available online at www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/shootingrange_development.shtml, or contact Anthony Chavez, statewide shooting ranges administrator, at (623) 236-7395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chavez added, “Public shooting ranges are critical to the preservation of recreational and competitive shooting. They also support hunter education and youth programs, as well as facilitate law enforcement training.”
The Arizona Game and Fish Department does not receive general funds from the State of Arizona. Most department funding comes from “user-pay, user-benefit” sources of funding, including sales of hunting and fishing licenses, stamps and tags. The benefit for allocating revenue for this grant is that it supports the department’s hunter education, hunter recruitment and shooting sports programs, and it promotes and provides Arizona residents with safe shooting areas – all important elements of the department’s mission.
Shooting sports and hunting are rated among the safest forms of recreation. Some 40 million people of all ages safely participate in these activities. However, research shows there are many more men and women who are interested in shooting sports and are simply waiting for an invitation. Grants of this kind will assist the department’s already successful shooting and hunter education programs.
Image courtesy Arizona Game and Fish Department