Wadena County Commissioners: Noise concerns over Clay Dusters shooting range

by Trinity Gruenberg


The Wadena County Commissioners held their regular meeting on March 3. Commissioner Bill Stearns was absent.

Concerns Over Noise From Clay Dusters Shooting Range

Tami and Randy Wenthold of Menahga, adjoining property owners to the Park Rapids Clay Dusters/RD Offutt Huntersville’ Sportsmen’s Park shared their opposition to the Clay Duster’s application to amend their Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to change their hours of operation.

The original CUP was approved in April of 2018 with conditions by the county to reduce noise.

Tami explained their resort business that caters to horse trail riders in the Huntersville State Forest has been open since 2004 and has been growing until 2019 when their revenue decreased by 10 percent.

She felt the information presented by the Clay Dusters was misrepresented as they were told the goal was to provide students in high school trap leagues a place to practice with funding assistance from the Department of Natural Rescources (DNR). They were a charitable 501c3 non-profit organization that has since added a 501c7 to run as a business and collect membership fees. This would make it a non-taxable property.

Tami felt this was a negative impact on the Huntersville State Forest, tourism, businesses and residents. Their arguments were heard at the Minnesota State Court of Appeals. The attorneys responded explaining the CUP restrictions were to reduce noise, be closed on official horse trail ride weekends, etc. The Clay Dusters were also to plant a tree line buffer and restrict certain firearms. . . .

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