Mandan News

Vern Davis: Spring is coming soon

Hello from Morton County Parks.

This month will be part business and part personal… business first.

It will soon be the time of ice out on the Missouri River and the phone calls will start. A typical one goes like this – Caller: “Why don’t you have the boat ramps open yet?” Me: “There are still piles of ice that would have to be taken off.” Caller: “Well, I think it would be nice to be fishing by now.” Me: “I will not have it done until the contractor says it will be safe. He doesn’t want to have his big loader sliding into the Missouri River.” Caller: “I sure hope it is soon, I know there are a few walleye with my name on them.” Me: “It will be a couple days yet, and oh yes, be careful of the floating chunks of ice and tree trunks.” Yes, I’m a little sarcastic in the above, but it has been close to that a couple times.

Another bit of information: As far as I know, the rifle range will be closed this spring same time, and a new one will be constructed just on the north side of the old one. It will have three or four ranges built in with eight foot berms in between. There will also be a place for a shotgun range. This project will be built by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

On the subject of gun ranges, I was at the range yesterday (Feb. 28) and was saddened to see the condition of the place. We try to keep the place clean and the targets replaced but there is a bunch of people who go down there and see how much ammunition they can shoot into uprights that hold the targets. The close target (25 yards) is shot off so close to the ground that it cannot be repaired. The vertical railroad ties that hold targets were shot up pretty bad so the crew pieced on 2×10 boards. Well, now those all are shot off very close to the ground and are frozen in solid, so they will not be replaced until spring.

To give you an idea of what this costs the taxpayers of Morton County, I’ll give you this – 2x4s = $10; backer board $7 to $8; railroad ties $30 per target, plus mileage and labor and we are in the neighborhood of $300. Multiply this by 10 to 12 times a year and you get a pretty good idea of our maintenance expenses at the range.

This is a sad part of a rifle range.  The majority  of the people use the place as it was meant to be used, but there are always a few who will see how much they can destroy targets, uprights, signs, it doesn’t seem to matter to them. As the saying goes, ya’ can’t cure stupid!

Finally, one last thing on a personal note; I had my real 18th birthday last week on Leap Year Day. I want to thank all the people who called or approached me to wish me “Happy Birthday.” It’s fun to have a “real birthday” every four years and an item of conversation at most. I used to say back in my party days I would celebrate two days – the 28th of February and the first of March, but those days are long gone. Thanks for putting up with me.

See you next month.