By Lars Dalseide | May 17 2011 18:35

As we told you earlier this month, representatives of the NRA the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) gathered in a small town known as Kinards to mark the opening of the Belfast Wildlife Area Rifle Range. Belfast is the first range to be built by way of the NRA Public Range Fund Grant Program, a project that encourages local and state agencies to work with NRA in order to build or improve public ranges across the United States.

"We are experiencing a moment in history," said NRA Board Member Herb Lanford. "In the future, we’ll all enjoy remembering the time we spent together today and hopefully get a chance to use the range for its intended purpose."

After a brief introduction, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Director John Frampton told fellow SCDNR officials, law enforcement officers, and local citizens, about the the significance of an open, public range.

"Shooting sports is extremely important today," said Frampton. "As an Olympic sport, it is something that we need be highlighting and something that we need be getting our youth involved in. 20 or 30 years ago, we could go anywhere that we wanted to and shoot. You can’t do that anymore. So it requires us to build facilities like this."

SCDNR Director John Frampton holds the targets while Assistant Director of Special Projects and National Affairs Emily Copes looks at her handiwork at the Belfast Wildlife Area Rifle Range on NRAblog Opened Wednesday through Friday in daylight hours and from 2 p.m. until dark on Sundays, the Belfast Rifle Range is just a starting point for the SCDNR.

"We will be developing a pistol range adjacent to this one," said Frampton. "Down the road we'll add an archery complex too."

As the ceremony came to a close, Frampton asked Emily Cope (his Assistant Director of Special Projects and National Affairs) to fire the first shot. “She was involved in just about all the negotiations for this property and pushed all of our staff to get the range developed.”

On a new range, with an unfamiliar rifle, at 100 yards, Emily managed to hit just outside of the ten ring for a nine. "Guess that gives me a good excuse to come back," she said with a smile.

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