North Idaho

Farragut shooting range to re-open

BAYVIEW, Idaho - It took years of court battles, but now, after the case went all the way to the Idaho State Supreme Court, the Farragut shooting range will open again.

The state supreme court ruled recently in favor of reopening the range, located near Bayview, Idaho.

However residents who live near the range, like Gabrielle Groth-Marnat, is concerned for her safety.

"I've had one bullet come onto my property," Groth-Marnat said.

Farragut shooting range

Groth-Marnat lives next to the Farragut shooting range and helped file a lawsuit against Idaho Fish and Game.

"I've never been opposed to them being open, I'm opposed to the lack of safety and the noise issue," Groth-Marnat said.

In 2004, Idaho Fish and Game proposed to renovate the range, and improve noise control.

A group called "Citizens Against Range Expansion" worried that would mean the range would be used more, in turn harming the community.

CARE sued Fish and Game, shutting the range down as the agency made changes. 

"We downsized the size of the range, the number of shooting positions. The judge asked us to put overhead baffles on the range," David Leptich with Fish and Game said.

When they were done, they went back in front of the judge, "and asked him to lift the injunction on the basis that we met the condition he set forth for both noise and safety. He denied our motion," Leptich added.

So Fish and Game took the matter up with the state supreme court, which ruled in their favor. This allows part of the range to re-open for up to 500 shooters a year.  

"It's an important asset to our community for that kind of activity to be practiced safely. Otherwise you have people just shooting in their back yard," Leptich said.

But people like Gabrielle Groth-Marnat, who fought to keep this range shut, said the decision is very disheartening and they are worried about their safety. Groth-Marnat is not convinced enough has been done to secure the range and keep bullets from straying.

"Of course I'm stunned and terribly disappointed," she said.

As the news sinks in, both sides still have to settle if more than 500 people can use the range a year.