By JOE DUTTON | Scottsbluff Star-Herald

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) — A new outdoor educational program, with guns, is planned for the Wildcat Hills Nature Center and Recreational Area.

Over the next month, construction crews will be moving dirt to create a new Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, including three types of shooting ranges, shelters, pavilions, walkways and more for people of all ages to enjoy.

Nebraska Game and Parks Education Manager Jeff Rawlinson said the facility will be similar to the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex at Platte River State Park located between South Bend and Louisville, Nebraska.

“The concept behind this is we need facilities for family use,” Rawlinson said. “This is where the newest of hunters, shooters and outdoor enthusiasts can go out and learn how to do those types of activities.”

A few years ago, Nebraska Games and Parks representatives conducted surveys on the need for shooting sports in Nebraska. After the data was gathered, a plan was developed to promote and provide a place for shooting sport novices to come and learn in a safe and controlled environment.

The complex will house a 50-yard small bore rifle range for 22 caliber rifles with 10 shooting stations, a 60-yard archery range with nearly 20 shooting positions, a 60-yard shotgun range for trap shooting or 5-stand and an indoor, 10 yard, pellet gun range with 10 shooting positions.

The complex will be designed with education in mind for all ages with children and families as the primary focus to begin and grow their skills in shooting sports, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald reports.

“This will have education programs, novice shooting and we plan to build recreational programs in shooting, archery leagues and tournaments,” Rawlinson said. “The goal is to design a facility to move them along and provide opportunities for gun clubs and facilities to work together to create shooters and hunters in the area and support them.”

Shooting experts will be on hand during shooting range hours along with volunteers to ensure safety and security of the complex. Rawlinson said the only thing visitors will have to do is show up and everything will be handled from there.

“We have so many dedicated volunteers in that part of the state that help with the programs,” he said. “Volunteers will find that is a place where they can hang their hat and get involved with the facilities.”

Costs to use the shooting range will be similar or the same to the Platte River State Park complex.

Since the project is just starting to take shape, a final name for the complex will be chosen at a later date. An opening date will also be set at a later time.

Rawlinson said it's a fairly low cost and a place where families can make good use of it and come out on a consistent basis. The main goal of Nebraska Game and Parks for the facility is to make it affordable for everyone.

“My hopes are that families, schools, youth groups and others will embrace the facility and find a lot of uses for it,” Rawlinson said. “Families will also find educational opportunities that aren't available anywhere else in the area.”

Pellet guns are $3 per person per 48 rounds. Archery is $3 per person for a half hour, the 22 caliber Rimfire Rifle is $3 per two rounds. Shotgun trap range is $5 per person for one round. The 5 stand is $7 per person for gun range provided gun and ammo plus $2 per person for one round.

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Information from: Star-Herald, http://www.starherald.com