PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A former military shooting range will have a new public life in Clark County. The transformation has already begun at Camp Bonneville.
Beyond the warning signs and the military gate, Camp Bonneville sits on 4,000 acres of land, six miles north of Camas, Washington. The US Army acquired the property in 1909 as a military training base. It included multiple shooting ranges, and even a place to shoot off howitzers.
Over the years, law enforcement agencies from the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office have trained there, for everything from sharpshooting to search-and-rescue operations.
“Clark County Troops have been training here since 1909,” said Greg Johnson of Clark County. “It’s a big part of our history.”
It’s also a big part of Clark County’s future.
Clark County Public Works has been cleaning up Camp Bonneville since 1995, when base re-alignment transferred the military reservation to Clark County’s control. The Army paid for the cleanup.
“We found World War One, World War Two ordnance, Korea, Vietnam, all the Persian Gulf,” said Johnson.
Now that the cleanup is almost done, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office will use part of Camp Bonneville as its primary shooting range. The rest of the camp will become a regional park. The county is asking for the public’s input on what that should look like.
“We’ve been contacted by mountain biking clubs, equestrian clubs,” said Johnson.
No matter the transformation, the history of Camp Bonneville is being preserved in museums through photographs, and in the history of the people of Clark County. If you’d like to weigh in on the future of Camp Bonneville, you can find more information online.