March 13, 2009

Wyden Asks Interior Department for Help in Finding New Location for Redmond Gun Club, Law Enforcement, Military Training Facility

In a letter to Secretary Ken Salazar, Wyden seeks BLM land for the Redmond Rod and Gun Club and a shooting range for police and soldiers

Portland, OR - In an effort to find a new location in central Oregon for recreational shooters, police and the military, Senator Ron Wyden has asked the Secretary of the Interior for help in identifying suitable Bureau of Land Management property.

In a letter today to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Wyden said that after the Redmond Rod and Gun Club was forced to relocate it formed a partnership with local law enforcement and the Oregon Military Department to find a new site on BLM land near Redmond.

"Initially, local BLM officials encouraged the partnership as a positive way to avoid developing multiple, duplicative shooting ranges," Wyden wrote. "With more than 75 percent of Deschutes County federally owned, there are few options for this type of facility. So, the BLM support and enthusiasm was welcome. Unfortunately, it was short lived. In December, the BLM notified the partnership that the proposed site would be both extremely expensive to consider - with costs borne by the proponents - and require from two to five years to approve."

Wyden said that the two-to-five-year time frame suggested by the BLM seems unreasonable given that these functions - military training, law enforcement training, and recreational shooting - are important, well-established uses on federal land in central Oregon.

"What's great about Central Oregon is that it's a mecca for great recreation and a wide range of pastimes, including shooting. The importance of police and military firearm training speaks for itself." Wyden said. "Federal agencies need to make an effort to accommodate all forms of recreation, especially when these pursuits have occurred for decades with virtually no conflict with other public land users or uses."

Other contacts: Gary George, Redmond Rod and Gun Club, 541-350-2460; Ron Roberts, Redmond Police chief , (541) 504-3401