OLYMPIA — Shooting clubs and range operators have until June 30 to apply for federally funded grants that can be used to construct, maintain or expand public shooting-range facilities in Washington state.
The grants are coordinated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and are awarded each year through the department’s Shooting Range Program. Approximately $50,000 in competitive grants is expected to be awarded this year, with individual awards ranging from $5,000 for small-scale grants to $25,000 for large-scale grants.
New this year is a requirement for all prospective grant applicants to attend a workshop designed to help them prepare effective grants. The workshop is scheduled 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 30 at the Washington Cattlemen’s Association building in Ellensburg.
The Shooting Range Program, which was established in 2002, supports development of not-for-profit shooting ranges with proceeds from a federal excise tax on archery equipment and firearms. Designed to help eligible shooting ranges pay for construction or other building expenses, the program is managed on a reimbursement basis.
Successful applicants must pay for construction and materials and are then reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the cost. The remaining 25 percent requires local matching money.
“Annual grant funding through the shooting range program helps WDFW meet its goal of promoting firearm safety in a controlled educational environment,” said Mik Mikitik, WDFW hunter education coordinator.
“Hunting and recreational shooting are important elements of our Northwest heritage and this federally funded grant program promotes both at no expense to Washington taxpayers,” Mikitik said. “More than 165 shooting ranges located throughout Washington offer a safe environment for hunters and recreational shooters to hone their skills. Our grant funds help range operators improve their facilities and provide safe, accessible shooting opportunities.”
Applicants must complete a detailed applications packet, including information on public range use, an environmental review, program narrative, user fees and charges. Applicants will be notified in August on grant awards. Information and applications for the grants are available through the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/shooting_ranges/, by contacting the Hunter Education program at (360) 902-8111, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.