The Mat-Su Ski Club has an ongoing, long-term, effort to establish a biathlon range at GPRA. Recently, working in conjunction with a professional engineer (volunteer) we decided to focus those efforts on one location – inside the Sprint Loop. Any construction on the ground is still far away, a huge amount of public consideration, as well as fundraising, has to come first. And while we have decided to focus on this site, it is still too early in the process to be sure that it will be the site, if there is to be a biathlon range at GPRA.
In the first phase of construction, this plan will entail clear-cutting the entire interior of the Sprint Loop, other than the northeastern corner. A great deal of dirt work would be done to build the 3-sided berm, appropriately level the range, and fill up to grade the eastern edge of the range and penalty loop footprint. That first phase would see 10 shooting stations built (the light blue boxes in the photomap) A second phase of construction would add 10 more shooting stations, within the same berm. A final. third, phase would see expansion to 30 shooting stations, the minimum needed to host events such as the Arctic Winter Games. The third phase would require moving the western berm and displacing the existing ski trails, as shown in dark blue on the photomap.
The forested nature of the Sprint (Matanuska) ski loop surrounding the proposed range will be replaced, on one side of the trail, with a more parking lot-like viewscape.
Mat-Su Ski Club members are invited to an introductory biathlon class from 11 am to 3 pm on Saturday, November 23 at the Kincaid Park biathlon range in Anchorage.
The cost is $25 per person or $30 for a family, plus a $10 insurance fee per person. The class includes safety instruction, time on the range to gain experience in biathlon procedure, and a fun “mini-biathlon” at the end of the class. .22 caliber rifles and ammunition are provided. Minimum age to participate is 10 years and kids 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Completion of this class enables further participation in biathlon events at the Kincaid Park range.
A comment period is open until November 15, 2019 concerning the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources proposal to change regulations in order to allow a biathlon range at GPRA.
The change is intended to allow only 22 caliber rifles using low-power ammunition, and only on a designated range, at designated times, and only with a range safety officer present.
The Mat-Su Ski Club supports the change.
More information at http://notice.alaska.gov/195671