BEMIDJI – The Northland Regional Shooting Sports Fund was established earlier this winter with the help of a $10,000 contribution by the Bemidji Area Shooters Association (BASA) in conjunction with the Bemidji Trap and Skeet Club. The fund is administered through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation.
The mission of the endowment fund is to support youth programs, projects and activities related to shooting sports in the Bemidji area.
Among the potential programs the fund could support are 4H shooting sports, high school and collegiate clay target leagues, hunter education and firearms safety courses.
“The shooting sports community in Bemidji has come together to form this endowment fund to support youth programs and development in the Bemidji area,” said Brad Smith, president of the Bemidji Trap and Skeet Club.
“There has been negative press regarding guns and gun ownership over the past several years and, specifically, over the last six months. As enthusiasts of shooting sports it is our responsibility to be proactive in starting, promoting and supporting positive activities with shooting sports as well as the infrastructure to be able to enjoy those activities.”
The creation of a clay target team at Bemidji High School and developing the Northland Region Sports Park north of Bemidji are two of the higher immediate priority objectives of the groups which created the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Fund.
Smith plans to address the Bemidji school board Monday about the possibility of creating a clay target team and give an update on the progress of the sports park.
The sports park, which is located three miles north of Bemidji and west of Hwy. 89, will be a multi-use facility that promotes outdoor recreation. It would replace the existing trap and skeet club range near the Bemidji airport. Plans include the construction of a firearms training center plus rifle and pistol and shotgun facilities for shooting skeet and trap.
The sports center would be located near the Soo Line and Paul Bunyan regional and state trail systems and those trails would be available for the public.
Other potential users include hunters who wish to work with their dogs, archers, law enforcement personnel plus school and youth groups.
Anyone wishing to make a tax free contribution to the Northland Regional Shooting Sports Fund can contact the Northwest Minnesota Foundation at www.nwmf.org. For more information on the fund and its purpose contact Brad Smith at the Bemidji Trap and Skeet Club (751-8806) or visit the club’s website at www.bemidji-trap-skeet.org.