Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Brief Club History

The Original Babbitt Conservation Club (BCC) was formed shortly after the construction of the Village of Babbitt in 1953. The Club was very active for a period of time until 1957. When the new concentrating and pelletizing facilities at the Silver Bay Division of Reserve Mining Company were completed many key BCC Babbitt employees were transferred to staff the plants and continuity was lost and the Club became inactive. Five years later, the Club was again reactivated and was incorporated on December 29, 1962 as a non-profit organization by Minnesota Statues.

In 1980, a fire destroyed the wooden clubhouse and the Club membership slowly declined and the BCC again disbanded. Early in 1995, past members reorganized and plans were made to reopen the shooting range.

Plans were made for a new clubhouse with propane furnace, handicap access bathrooms, septic holding tank system with drain field and to drill a new potable well for drinking water and a flagpole. Major plans using approved National Rifle Association (NRA) range designs were drawn up for a dirt backstop for the three dirt bermed ranges. A 25-50 yard pistol, 100 yard and 200 yard rifle ranges with concrete bases, an overhead roof, wooden shooting benches and electric outlets completed each line.

In June of 1966, new construction began on a 28 foot wide by 40 foot building consisting of a poured concrete floor and walls and a steel metal roof with steel doors. A well was drilled and septic system installation were completed in the summer of 1997. In the fall, construction to make improvements to the rifle and pistol ranges began with the assistance of the Duluth National Guard installing a flag pole and minor work on the berms over the weekend. In the spring of 1998, construction again was started on the large dirt backstop and side berms of the shooting lanes. With grants from St. Louis County and matching funds for the Minnesota DNR and donations from local businesses and using local volunteer workers plus earth moving and hauling equipment from the Northshore Mining Company and the IRRRB, huge progress was made as the projects were completed in record time.

Work started on additional plans to move and modify the existing trap shooting facility. A new trap house building, semi-automatic trap thrower and concrete shooting stations wree installed with volunteer labor. The entire area was seeded and fertilized with new grass and hundreds of pine trees were planted around the perimeters. Additional storage buildins were purchased and refurbished to house maintenance and repair equipment.