The open space area behind Big Butte has been a popular spot to shoot for a long time.
“Free to the public, close to home, I come out here with my four-wheeler sometimes and shoot some guns,” said Butte resident Jacob Rodrigues.
Butte planners want to make the area into a more organized shooting range, by adding three shooting benches, targets and a parking area.
Use of the shooting range will remain free to the public.
Officials believe having a designated shooting range will make this area safer for all who use it.
“When you’re back there running or on your bike and you hear shots ring out, you’re not quite sure which direction they’re going. This will direct exactly where people are shooting and those people using the trails will have some comfort level know exactly where the shots are coming from,” according to Butte Parks and Recreation Director JP Gallagher.
Another reason the county would like to make the area more of an organized shooting range is to avoid having excess trash like the Dell Computer hard drive which somebody brought out here and used for target practice and then just left it.
“A lot of the trash we get there comes from the shootings, so if we put up permanent targets up there where they can go and put up their paper targets, but it’s a permanent target area it’ll cause of a lot less garbage,” Gallagher said.
Some shooters welcome the change.
“It’ll be great for the economy we’ll have a cleaner environment out here, you know, having people come out here for free, it’s just easy for us,” Rodrigues said.
Gallagher added, “ It’s kind of a tradition for people to go back there, we want to make it a better area, safer area for all the citizen of Butte to use.”
The city is seeking grants to help build the range, which, if approved, could be constructed within the next few months. The project will require about $52,000 to complete.