Hi-Desert Rod & Gun Club Range
In the early 1960’s the Yucca Valley Rotary Club acquired 40 acres of land in Yucca Valley, California from the Bureau of Land Management to be used as a shooting range. The Rotary Club formed a boulder and sand firing line, constructed a tower, installed shooting benches and laid out target lines.
Originally, the range was meant to be used by local shooters at no cost. But by the late 1960’s, The Rotary Club’s interest fell off; however, the range remained open to the general public. Because there was no entity over-seeing the range, there was uncontrolled and potentially dangerous misuse by the general public who were using the range.
By mid-1970 the Rotary Club no longer wanted to be involved with the range and they released their interest to the Park District. The Park District closed the range and put a chain across the entrance road, posting “no shooting” signs. Local shooters who were still interested in using the range asked the Park District how they could reopen it.
They were advised that if a Club was formed and incorporated, had by-laws, liability insurance, provided range officers and maintenance; the Park District would lease the range to that Club.
Somewhere between 1974 and 1979, a group of local shooters organized a relaxed club. Several of the members were also fishermen who enjoyed getting together to fish various lakes in the area and so they named their club the Hi Desert Rod & Gun Club, Inc.
They became incorporated and complied with the State of California’s laws. The area within the 40 acres that was known as the shooting range was fenced in. A parking area was cleared outside the fenced area and slowly the Park District added picnic tables with shade covers and trash receptacles.
In 1987 the Morongo Valley Community Services District (MVCSD) took possession of the land that ran from the town of Morongo Valley to the top of the grade that led into Yucca Valley via Route 62. This included the land where the gun range was located. Because the Hi Desert Rod & Gun Club was still under the five year lease with Yucca Valley, the MVCSD honored the lease and he Club continued using the gun range without interruption.
Throughout the years, the Club continued to lease the range from the MVCSD. Power was acquired by the Club and the MVCSD drilled a well. The water proved un-potable due to uranium content and there was a serious lack of water pressure. The Club experienced on-going unsavory issues with the MVCSD wanting to run the range themselves, raising lease amounts, and not keeping vital documents regarding the gun range. Time after time, the Club proposed purchasing the land from the MVCSD but was repeatedly turned down.
In 2007, the MVCSD was in a negative financial spot and when the Club approached them to purchase the land, the MVCSD agreed to the deal, but only if the Club bought the entire 40 acres, not just the gun range. Because the Club had hoped to one day purchase the range, they had been frugal with their spending and managed to save enough money to reach their long term goal; the Hi Desert Rod & Gun Club became the owners of the 40 acres of land that held the gun range.
~These are personal recollections and may not be historically exact. Used with permission.~