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Meade County Rejects Section Line Change for Shooting Range; GF&P Must Give Legal Notice of New Map

That big shooting range Kristi Noem wants to build in Meade County had another misfire this week. Game Fish and Parks wanted to move a section line to facilitate construction of the shooting range north of Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base on Elk Vale Road.

Relocation of section line right-of-way, proposed by GF&P to Meade County Commission, agenda packet, commission meeting, 2022.06.28.
Relocation of section line right-of-way, proposed by GF&P to Meade County Commission, agenda packet, commission meeting, 2022.06.28.
Map showing position of current and proposed section line ROWs with respect to location of proposed shooting range, submitted by GF&P to Meade County Commission, agenda packet, commission meeting, 2022.06.28.
Map showing position of current and proposed section line ROWs with respect to location of proposed shooting range, submitted by GF&P to Meade County Commission, agenda packet, commission meeting, 2022.06.28.

The current section line right-of-way runs west-to-east right through the shooting range. GF&P would like to vacate that line and move the right of way to coincide with the shooting range’s main southwest driveway, then go around the southeast corner of the range.

The Meade County Commission rejected the GFP request Tuesday, saying the state sprang a surprise on them with a last-minute change to the design:

The denial ended up being based on a legal interpretation from Meade County Deputy State’s Attorney Kenneth Chleborad after GF&P submitted a modified design for the section line relocation after the legal notice for the public hearing was published featuring a different map.

“The petition is for this particular plat (as originally presented). We can certainly discuss the other but you cannot take action on it,” Chleborad said.

Officials with GF&P attended Tuesday’s meeting and presented an alternative section line plat after there were concerns voiced over the original design. The GF&P representatives said the maps for the alternative plan were devised over the previous 24-48 hours prior to the meeting.

“I do not like to be surprised at commission meetings with a whole new plan and not a lot of answers in response,” Commissioner Doreen Creed said. “Something that is this controversial on its own, I would recommend that the GF&P go back and get some of these questions answered because I do not believe we have all the information in which to make an educated decision” [Nathan Thompson, “Meade County Commission Denies Section Line Move for GF&P Gun Range,” Rapid City Journal, 2022.06.28].

Game Fish and Parks will need to provide proper legal notice before taking another shot at the section line at a future Meade County Commission meeting.


  1. Whitless 2022-07-01 10:45

    The GF&P suffers a self-inflicted wound to its credibility with this bait and switch maneuver. On this questionably appropriate project, it appears that the GFP can’t shoot straight.

  2. John 2022-07-01 11:35

    The SD GFP is the gang that can’t shoot straight.
    It’s not as if the SD GFP is “unaware” of the administrative rules of “notice” — all the GFP seasons and licensing is accomplished through administrative rules.

    The SD GFP range has been one surprise after another. SD GFP ought to look for some competent help. and

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-07-01 12:55

    John, does the “major questions” doctrine apply to state governments as well? Maybe GF&P should have to get Legislative approval to build shooting ranges, set hunting seasons, issue licenses….

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-01 15:33

    The GFand P has shot themselves in the foot…more bureaucratic tomfoolery playing the Meade County Commissioners for fools..Can’t Lt. Governor Rhoden and Senator Cammack intervene to save the Governor’s bacon?? Mark up a big point for Local Control.

  5. cibvet 2022-07-01 15:55

    If these repub commissioners were life time appts., this change would have sailed right through. Since they are elected positions,
    they must check which way the wind blows for elect ability.

  6. John 2022-07-01 17:10

    Cory, sir, I do not know whether the major questions doctrine applies to the states. I suspect it may.
    Yet, it appears the radical SCOTUS is selectively dismembering the federal administrative law. Administrative law allows government to function. Congress cannot possibly foresee and cover all extraneous circumstances in a fact pattern so it MUST give agencies general, sometimes specific, guidance and broad discretion within sideboards. and the SD Administrative Procedures Act: (SD GFP uses this MONTHLY at GFP Commission meetings (minutes available on line), for which the GFP staff does the leg-work preparing, so any idea the GFP staff and leaders were “unaware” of the law and rules for “notice and comment” rulemaking borders on civilly grossly negligent.

    Regarding setting licensing and seasons: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs (DOI), DOD (hunting seasons on federal posts and bases), NOAA (off shore fisheries), perhaps others (Bureau of Reclamation, Corps of Engineers, etc. – manage setting seasons and licensing through administrative procedures. In some cases, particularly BLM (that may be site-specific) the agency defers to and allows the state to apply its seasons and licensing to federal public land. Often the feds set the sideboards, then the state may use or reduce those sideboards, but never expand them (no longer seasons, greater bag limits, etc.) Setting licensing and seasons is accomplished, in theory, AFTER, wildlife and fisheries latest population census, volatility, and trends to project a “harvestable surplus”. (Congress and the SD legislature is no way adroit enough to respond to wildlife census data to set a season/bag limits/licensing within months.) Sometimes this is in-artful – think of the large number and waste of road kill deer in the fall BEFORE the normal rifle hunting season. In this SD specific case, the SD GFP Commission kowtows to the minority farmers who do not want armies of armed nimrods patrolling rural roads, fields, and forests during the harvest and pestering the lords of the land. The rifle seasons generally conform to the peak breeding season and run a short 10 days; a week with sideboard weekends. Yet, magically, the Black Hills rifle deer season runs the month of November – 3 times as long. (Wildlife biology is only 1/3 as important on the prairie.)

    If the dysfunctional US congress and SD legislature set seasons, licensing, or a slew of other important, yet small decisions — even more of nothing would be accomplished. Skim the South Dakota Administrative Rules to acquire an idea of the scope of subjects they cover. (You likely are aware of this; yet some readers may not be). SD GFP begins at 41:01 through 41:13.

  7. RS 2022-07-01 23:59

    I have no opinion on this shooting range in Meade County being needed or in the right location as its not my backyard. But it does tick me off that Noem has put the GFP as a whole in both chaos and undeserving criticism. Noem has been screwing this agency up since the day she became governor. Just like the Department of Health or Corrections or Natural Resources or Labor or Education, they are being led by people of Noem’s choosing that are less competent than previous heads. Top it off with the inability of any government employee to speak up to the public and you get this crap. I know a lot of any agency people that are fed up with having to take the s…. coming from the top to please Noem.

  8. leslie 2022-07-02 08:52

    Cast of characters:

    Developer Scull
    County lawyer Chelborad
    Black Hills Harley Davidson
    Bear Butte Tribes
    Rogue Flamethrowers Noem/Janklow (mfi doesnt miss a trick!)

    Highway 34 back door to Rapid City via Elk Vale Connector

    Brace for the new Trump Memorial AR-15 Carnival Ride World Class Shooting Range for Rally Riders

  9. grudznick 2022-07-02 14:59

    The state should just abolish The County of Meade. Like my good friend Lar says, we only need 35 counties. Let us start the eliminations with this incompetent bunch of boobs who have a chip (no pun) because of the one town in their county that means anything at all.

    Abolish Meade and Butte and add them to Perkins. Perkins is where the high rollers shoot their goats.

  10. Matthew Kammerer 2022-07-02 18:38

    I Matthew Kammerer have the most to lose if they move the section line. Gfp needs serious help they don’t research any land offered to them buy fish and wildlife foundation because they don’t worry about money taxpayers pick up the blunders. They tore out and built 1/2 mile of my fence It is a 1/4 mile off property line. That is about a 8500 dollar mistake. They also did this to the neighbor Maybe two biologists and an ex football player shouldn’t be building a 10 million dollar gun range!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jake K 2022-07-02 19:30

    For the Meade Co Commissioners by way of their deputy State’s Attorney to coach this GFP boondoggle and ‘horns-waggle’ of the South Dakota taxpayer by telling them “exactly” how to change the section line and bring it back in a future meetingf for Commission approval makes them complicit and back-handed supporters of a ‘dream’ conjured up by Scull and the GFP.! Their job is to watch and regulate all concerns of their county residents first and foremost. Not to be taken by developers and money grabbers looking for a quick buck or entertainment for their
    “Un-‘regulated militia’ ” -(referring to 2nd Amendment)-ammo-sexuals crying tears about “Gun Rights”…

    2nd Amendment: I dare you to read its entirety and compare today’s reality of the gun-totin’, AR 15’s & armored vestetc. etc. and 30 round pistols and all-to a “well-regulated militia ,being necessary to a free state”. The 6 Republican supreme s, “legislating from the bench” !! The GOP used to have some integrity, no more.

    A woman in America this month, to celebrate her freedoms can go out and buy a weapon of war to kill many – but has no NO rights over her own body unless the ‘state’ and ‘supreme s say so?
    This is “conservatism?’ C,mon.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-02 20:41

    Mr. Kammerer is very correct as is RS. Governor Noem is totally inept at governing. Her political meddling has corrupted the professionalism of one State Department after another, Education, Health, Corrections and now GF and P. Unfortunately, her interjection of politics into the mission of Departments has visited his property. Mrs. Noem is a total amateur with no higher education in Government, Management or Leadership. She is a creature of the media and right wing, radical think tanks who expound their theories at the expense of the Constitution and the rule of law. In 2 years, she has done incredible damage.

  13. Jake 2022-07-02 21:54

    Yes, Arlo, and she will continue as long as complacent people are awestruck by her “Let’s go Brandon” attacks on Biden and her ‘lookin’ good’ at rodeos and buffalo roundups. She and her like are definite dangers to democracy.
    She’s all about “control”, not self-control but it don’t matter to her and her ilk. Women exist to carry, deliver babies -whether they wish to or not; even under results of incest or rape.

  14. Matthew Kammerer 2022-07-03 17:57

    I inspected the new fence gfp built for me today they did not put any wire in the corners about a 7 foot opening for the cattle that they are letting graze for free to move onto my property. Total negligence on our state department as they were right there on Thursday. They sent me pictures of their screw up! Larry , Gary and Kristy the new three stooges should be ashamed of what they are trying to inject in Meade co. This will only benefit Pennington co and prom queen in her bid for a job she can’t handle. I’m not going to be nice anymore I will expose them them on everything Cory I will be contacting you for your media help thanks

  15. grudznick 2022-07-03 22:29

    Mr. Kammerer, are you the sort of fellow who enjoys a hearty breakfast with a hearty debate to get yourself all fired up in the mornings? Do you want to hear the news grudznick has from private sources? Are you a bacon or sausage fellow? No ham.

  16. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-07-04 20:12

    Good God Almighty, why would any rational person, NOT Kowgirl Kristi, who bumps her clean, pristine rodeo boots with every wh*re-hoppin’ male attendee at governor’s conventions and d*cklickin’ personal fundraisers, give two hoots in h*ck about a GUN RANGE?

    Eff that 10 year old pregnant girl, though. After all, she’s “impure”

  17. larry kurtz 2022-07-05 07:49

    In South Dakota local control is Republican control.

    West River Republicans have apparently forgotten that the ground they live on was seized from aboriginal cultures by President Thomas Jefferson through an executive order that even he believed was unconstitutional yet they go on and on about how illegal it is for the federal government to own land but encourage red moocher states like South Dakota to buy up as much as it can.

    South Dakota owns loads of the means of production: the very definition of socialism.

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