With a new injection of youthful energy, the North Beltrami Sportsmen’s Club range in Kelliher is in the process of updating its facilities and is getting some help from the state to do so.
Last week, the Department of Natural Resources announced $371,000 in grants to 22 shooting range projects across Minnesota. The initiative was approved by the 2014 Legislature and was developed following a significant rise in youth rap shooting.
Of the $371,000 awarded, $75,335 was granted to the North Beltrami Sportsmen’s Club in Kelliher. It was the largest grant awarded of the 22 projects.
Club Chairman Morris Frenzel said the funds will be used for a variety of projects.
“We’re updating our current trap throwers and adding a third. Along with that, we’re also adding handicap accessible concrete sidewalks out to the trap ranges,” Frenzel said. “We’re also fixing our access roads. We have three different schools that come out here in the spring, and the access can get muddy, so this will be an upgrade for the road.”
Frenzel said the grant is a 50/50 match scenario and the total cost of the projects is about $150,000. The club has been able to come up with its own funds through fundraising efforts, as well as labor from its members.
Like the rest of the state, Frenzel said the upgrade projects have been in response to the younger generation becoming more involved.
“What has fueled it are the youth shooting programs,” Frenzel said. “They have brought a lot of attention back to the club.”
During the spring months, Frenzel said groups from schools in Blackduck, Kelliher and Northome visit the site for activities.
Over the past two years, the DNR has awarded funds to more than 80 shooting range projects like the one in Kelliher. In 2015, the Legislature provided an additional $1 million in each of the next two years for shooting sports facility grants.
A second shooting range in Beltrami County, the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Park, is currently under construction near Minnesota Highway 89. The DNR previously awarded a $419,732 grant to help complete the project.