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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Senate Budget Amendment Targets Northern Virginia Gun Club

The Senate Budget Bill includes an amendment to allocate $520.000 in non-general funds from bond issues to purchase the "Dahlgren Heritage Railroad Trail" (DHRT) and incorporate it into Caledon State Park.

This former CSX railroad-right-of-way (CSX RROW) was established during the WWII time frame to link the Dahlgren Naval Base to the railroad system. It was then abandoned after the war for many years. The abandoned RROW transects the property of the Northern Virginia Gun Club. If the state completes the proposed purchase, it will severely restrict the club's ability to continue the present day utilization that has been the norm for over 43 years. The Northern Virginia Shooting Facility (NVSF) leases the property to the 500 member Northern Virginia Gun Club (NVGC) a VSSA and NRA affiliated club and they need your help.

For a little background, the NVSF bought the property located at 8486 Caledon Road (Rt. 218), King George in 1969. In 1971 the land was improved to build rifle and pistol ranges south of the old CSX RROW. These ranges have been in continuous use for over 43 years. At that time the RROW passed directly through the danger zone of the impact area of our rifle ranges. Around 2002, groups interested in developing a trail cleared the RROW and renamed it the ''DHRT."

At times people walked through the property and behind the target area of the rifle range. During the time the range was in use the club had to post lookouts at each end of the range area. Each time a hiker appeared, shooters ceased firing until the area became clear again. The club eventually reached an agreement with the DHRT owners and, together with the group- 'Friends of the DHRT,' the club constructed a bypass to avoid the rifle range so that no one would be placed in danger. They could continue to hike the trail crossing part of the club's property without impacting shooting activities.  It was a win-win for all parties and the club did not lose the use of the property in which they have invested significant funds and members' efforts to develop for over 43 years.

If the state were to outright buy the "DHRT," the approximately 500 members of the Northern Virginia Gun Cub would be adversely affected through the loss of the use of significant portions of the range complex. The club provides numerous recreational opportunities to various groups and most all of the competitive events are open to the public. The property is used by Boy Scout Troops, Wounded Warriors, and 4H clubs during the year. The club also hosts state and national championships, as well as "All-Americans" and former Olympic competitors who practice and compete on the club's ranges. The club does not have other areas where they we can develop new rifle ranges on the acreage because the topography is too severe.

VSSA asks you to please contact the members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 800 Item C-25.55 #1s, which is the amendment to the Senate Budget authorizing the Commonwealth to purchase the Dahlgren Heritage Railroad Trail.

Please let the know If the budget amendment referenced above is approved, the club would likely have to cease operation You must act now so that the Senate Finance Committee rejects the amendment to the budget when it completes it's work before midnight February 8.  The members of the Finance Committee and their contact information are:

Stosch (Co-Chair), (804) 698-7512
(804) 698-7529


TPKeller said...

Brief mention in FLS editorial here:

TPKeller said...

Funding pulled for this session: