In the late 1970’s a diverse group of local sportsmen in the Intermountain Area of northern California were looking for a safe place to sight in their rifles and enjoy some friendly competition. They began meeting on an out of the way piece of public land near the community of Hat Creek. Soon, others hearing of “this place to shoot”, joined the group and the Hat Creek Rifle and Pistol Club (Club) was born. Their early success however was short lived as the US Forest Service did not find the organized firearms activities compatible with other uses in the area and suggested that the Club find another location.
In 1979 discussions were opened with Pacific Gas and Electric Company to lease some of their surplus property for a shooting range (Range). The Club secured a lease in 1980 and began improving the property with volunteer labor and private donations. This process continued for the next 25 years. Today, the Club boasts a growing membership of over two hundred members and is recognized as one of the premier gun clubs in California. The Range is managed by a thirteen member Board of Directors. It is the only managed civilian rifle range in Shasta County.
At their regularly scheduled meeting on September 27, 2005, the Board of Supervisors of the County of Shasta unanimously passed Resolution Number 2005-130. (See appendices) The Resolution recognizes many of the benefits that the Club brings to the residents of the area. It concludes with “the Board of Supervisors of the County of Shasta expresses its strong support for the continued operation of the Hat Creek Rifle and Pistol Club at its current location and supports and encourages the vesting of this property to the Hat Creek Rifle and Pistol Club.”
The Club leases approximately 200 acres of land from Pacific Gas and Electric Company on the north side of State Highway 299 East between Burney and Fall River Mills for the purpose of operating a rifle and pistol shooting range facility. (see appendix for legal description). The Club has operated at this site since about 1980 and has enjoyed a cordial and constructive relationship with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for nearly 25 years.
What started with about a half dozen people looking for a safe place to shoot has evolved into a rifle and pistol club that embraces almost every facet of the rifle and pistol shooting disciplines. There is a year around calendar of events (attached) for members and nonmembers alike that illustrates the popularity of the Range. The Range is open to other clubs who seek an organized, safe and secure place to practice and compete. It is open to youth groups free of charge and is used by local law enforcement agencies.
While most of the Club membership comes from the Intermountain Area1 many club members routinely travel from Redding, Red Bluff, Yreka and Alturas to compete in weekly events. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA) sanctioned shooting contests draw contestants from as far away as Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona.
One reason for the Club’s growth is the fact that other shooting ranges that once existed on rural lands adjacent to cities have been forced to close. Urban sprawl and rising land values made it impossible to continue operation. Though public lands are abundant in northern California, political and practical considerations voiced by the land management agencies have forced organized shooters to look elsewhere.
The Club is a unique organization that has grown from “a half a dozen people looking for a safe place to shoot” to the most active shooting range in northern California. The Club’s efforts to promote competition, instruction and safe gun handling have earned recognition from the National Rifle Association and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
Though formed as a Club around 1979 the Hat Creek Rifle and Pistol Club Inc. did not incorporate until 2003 when it sought and was granted 501c7 status as a “Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation” under the laws of the state of California. (Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws included in appendix). The stated purpose for which this corporation was formed…” is to operate a rifle and pistol shooting facility in Shasta, County California, in order to provide a safe venue for residents, agencies and organizations of the community to engage in shooting activities, giving them a better understanding of safe handling and proper care of fire arms”.