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Birchwood Price Hike. Whats up with that?

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  • Birchwood Price Hike. Whats up with that?

    Birchwood hiked up the membership fees to $375 a year. That is way too much for me. It was about too much for me when it was just below $200. What gives? Nice of them to hike up all the prices in the middle of the worst economic down turn in memory. Very community minded and inclusive.

  • #2
    I used to have a membership but didn't use it much. Did they jack up the daily rates too?
    -Tim

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    • #3
      Here are the details from an email announcement I received back in May. It definitely seems like a steep increase. Luckily I had just renewed my membership so I won't have to bite the bullet until next May. I think I'll be considering the monthly payment plan if I choose to renew.<br/><br/>Annual Dues Increase<br/><br/>Dear BRSP Member,<br/><br/>For the past three years your board has been working to put the club on a solid financial foundation.  There have been a number of changes as part of this long term plan.  A long cold stretch this winter followed by the COVID 19 operational restrictions has forced the board to accelerate the final steps of the new financial plan.<br/><br/>After a great deal of deliberation the board unanimously voted to raise annual dues to $375.  This dues increase was announced at the annual meeting but the board wanted to provide the membership with some insight to the reasoning behind the changes.<br/><br/>In addition to the change in dues we will be making the following changes to fees and operations.<br/><br/>This club will become an annual membership only club.  2-Day membership has been eliminated. <br/><br/>The $3/day R&P range fee will be eliminated.<br/><br/>Membership will be capped at 3400. <br/><br/>These changes have been put in place to address operational issues at the park such as:<br/><br/>Address years of deferred maintenance.<br/><br/>Initiate a capital improvement program.<br/><br/>Build an emergency fund for situations similar to the COVID-19 shutdown.<br/><br/>Become a true members club.<br/><br/>Improve the member's experience by limiting access to the club's facilities to members and their guests.<br/><br/>Eliminate overcrowding on the Rifle and Pistol ranges. <br/><br/>Recognizing members are the backbone of the club by moving to a business model that recognizes this. <br/><br/>The board will be hosting two question and answer sessions so that members have a better understanding of the changes.  These sessions will be Saturday June 6th and June 13th from 4:00 – 5:30pm at the main club house.  We strongly urge any member with questions to attend one of these sessions.  In addition to these two sessions questions can be emailed to board@brspclub.com.<br/>The board has invested significant time in preparing information to better communicate the operational and financial decisions.  Please take time to review these documents before you ask questions.  These documents are a summary of the decisions made and why. <br/>The membership price change will be effective July 21st, 2020.  The board has put in place several policies to address this change.<br/><br/>Members whose expiration dates occur on or after July 21st, 2020 will not be allowed to renew early at the current fee.<br/><br/>Anyone left with a value on a punch card or who purchased an annual unlimited pass will be credited or refunded a prorated amount. <br/><br/>A monthly payment option will be available. <br/><br/> During the first year of the new fee structure, we will be offering a discount to current members who pay in full when renewing.<br/>In addition to the price change there will be follow on announcements to address operational changes as we move into the new business model.  These changes when fully implemented will improve everyone’s experience at the park and allow us to operate more efficiently. <br/>Change is not easy but it is necessary and your board has invested significant time in this plan to secure the future of the park, improve the member experience and make the park operations more efficient. <br/>Your board would like to thank you for your continued support and patience as we move forward. <br/>Financial Analysis: https://mcusercontent.com/7d7ad41f836e010aa30668a92/files/4bd238c5-9be1-4528-9652-acecbd753e3a/2020_BRSP_Annual_Member_Dues_Increase_Final.pdf<br/>FAQ:<br/>https://mcusercontent.com/7d7ad41f836e010aa30668a92/files/c69c6a89-1f5b-4a7f-ae03-266c8556bd77/BRSP_Membership_and_Fee_Change_FAQ_5.25.2020.01.pd f<br/><br/>Fee Schedule:<br/>https://mcusercontent.com/7d7ad41f836e010aa30668a92/files/1eafbf0e-d0a0-427e-a05e-992983724e3b/Fee_schedule.03.pdf<br/><br/>Your Board members:<br/><br/>Scott Henderson – President<br/>Bill Batson – Vice President<br/>John Barnes – Treasurer<br/>Justin Larkin – Secretary<br/>Clover McNeil<br/>Dana Stewart<br/>David Arieno<br/>Gerald Atol<br/>Sarah Stallone<br/>Copyright © 2020 Birchwood Recreation & Shooting Park, All rights reserved.<br/>You are receiving this email as an active 2019 member of BRSP<br/><br/>Our mailing address is:<br/><br/>Birchwood Recreation & Shooting Park<br/><br/>20269 Birchwood Spur Rd<br/><br/>PO Box 670650<br/><br/>Chugiak, AK 99567-5265<br/><br/><br/><br/><br/>Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk<br/><br/>

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      • #4
        I've been a member there for years. The club has now become an exclusive, member only club. I'm good until Christmas and I don't plan to renew. I'll be heading north to Upper Susitna and become a member there. I can't justify the increase in membership dues at Birchwood. And yes Daved, it surprises me that the increase is taking place during the worst economic downturn in memory. Especially after they sent out the plea for donations to pay members who were laid off during the shut down. I gladly donated but then the price increase, give me a break. JMHO of course but I'm done with them.
        Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

        Comment


        • #5
          I suspect BRSP is trying to maintain its tax exempt status as a social/recreational club.

          So the bulk of the club’s income needs to come from membership dues and fees. Everyone needs to be a member now to shoot there. Think of it as a “country club” with guns.

          A jump from $199 to $375 annually is a 88% increase !! That’s a big pill to swallow. No doubt in my mind that a lot of members will not renew and shoot elsewhere. The BRSP board seems to think the huge rate increase will offset the cancelled memberships.

          With the recent COVID impacts, the club was holding out the GoFundMe tin cup to help support the hard-working skeleton staff there. BRSP was running pretty thin even then. Are there enough shooters willing to pay $375 annually for their fix or will they go to crowded Rabbit Creek for $110 a year or other places in the Valley?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by TR View Post
            I used to have a membership but didn't use it much. Did they jack up the daily rates too?
            There is no daily rate option any longer for the general public.

            I've been a member for a number of years. My membership expires in late August, and I won't be renewing. I don't go to the range to shoot for fun - it's really just been a way to sight in my rifle after hours and to help my sons work on firearms safety and marksmanship. For the increased rate, we can find other options.

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            • #7
              Sad to see. I was never a true member but I was happy to pay a daily fee to use the range. I just do not shoot enough to justify the commitment.

              It's always perplexing to me when an organization claims that they are taking measures to secure financial stability when their actions clearly are aimed at something else.

              My take from reading between the lines of the email is that there is a group of members that are unhappy with the crowded ranges leading up to hunting season and they want to eliminate daily users. My guess is that daily users in Aug and Sept make up a fat portion of their income and they need to raise member fees to cover expenses in order to bar the daily user. Exclusivity is expensive, that's a lot of prime real estate they control. The ranges are going to be a lot more available to the die hard club participants but the casual users will be pushed to the side. As this shakes out I'm guessing that they will need to increase fees again to cover the casual members that were willing to pony up $200 as a donation to a cause they thought worthy.

              If they really wanted to fix their financial situation they would have lowered their annual membership somewhat or better yet had a summer membership for $150 and then just eliminated the daily user. Just like at a health club, the financial success of a health club is determined by how many memberships they sell to casual users that rarely work out. Something like 80% of a health club revenue is from members that rarely or never use the facilities.

              My $0.02 anyways. I'm not a member and I'm not on the board so I have no real voice in this discussion. I will just have to adjust where I go to shoot the few times I do get out. Just sad to see, that's all.

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              • #8
                I'm sure all their costs have fallen year by year, so of course it doesn't make sense to raise the price of admission. Dollar a day for pretty much unlimited use. Most folks spend more than that on overpriced coffee. If the argument works that they could lower their price to fix finances, then they could make it free and be rich.
                "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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                • #9
                  No doubt costs have risen over the years. However, an 88% percent increase is hard to stomach. Apparently most folks drink better coffee than I do.
                  Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Regrettable, was planning to take my boys there to tune up their shooting skills.
                    -Tim

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      that place has gone to hell. I worked there for a year and a half and it was a great place to work, shot gun leagues were always full and people were always hanging out and bsing after shooting. Now after the management change and they let go their best target setter it has really gone down hill. They have lost over half of their shotgun league teams ( i bet they will lose more after this price hike), people no longer hang out after shooting and the over all fun/camaraderie has seem to gone down. As i am shooting leagues and look around it almost seems like people are at a job and just trying to get through the night instead of having fun. My membership is good through february and i dont think i will probably be renewing it. Its a shame what it has turned into. They have turned it into some exclusive member club like some lower 48 places and i dont think thats the route they should have taken. Lets be honest its a shot gun range in alaska that has a dump as a back stop. Should have kept it the way it was.
                      I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
                      but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gunbugs View Post
                        I'm sure all their costs have fallen year by year, so of course it doesn't make sense to raise the price of admission. Dollar a day for pretty much unlimited use. Most folks spend more than that on overpriced coffee. If the argument works that they could lower their price to fix finances, then they could make it free and be rich.
                        I know you understand what I was talking about and you are just using a hyperbole to justify an action and distract from the main premise. I am not no the board and do not have access to their financials so I can only speculate. But my point is that the changes in fees are covering up the true motive.

                        The true motive is to reduce the number of overall users of the range so that a smaller portion of anual members can have a more private range experience. I'm guessing that some high frequency users are frustrated every year by the local yokal daily user like me that only shows up one ore two times a year, usually the week before hunting season. They feel that they are paying for exclusivity and they were told that in order to get exclusivity the fees would have to go up on annual members so they could eliminate the daily fee users.

                        My point, if they really wanted to fix their finances they should have increased the daily rate instead. Really the daily rate should be high enough that it would make sense for a person that goes semi frequently would consider an annual membership instead. I would have no problem paying $40-60 for a daily fee the one or two times I need the range. I have no desire to spend almost $400 for the few times I go. I'll just find another place and probably have to drive some more.

                        This is really going to increase the used of gravel pit shooting ranges that we worked so hard to eliminate in the 80's and 90's by developing the Birchwood range. It's a big step backwards for public safety in my opinion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I was a member but discontinued due to infrequent use and then I payed the daily fee several times just to sight in or check zero before hunting season. There's no way that I'll pay $375. If they had a really nice long range rifle facility I might consider it but they just don't have much to offer.

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                          • #14
                            Agree with Kantishna, gravel pit shooting will increase
                            -Tim

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                            • #15
                              I was a member of Birchwood for years, years ago. I would show up and no one was there, not even a RO most days for EMP access. If someone did show up, they were polite. I met some good shooters. I renewed my membership when we moved back 2 years ago. Last year, there were times it was hard to find a place to park close and get on a bench even for EMP times in the evening. I had encounters with several old grouchy fuds; dont sit there, go over there, I was here first go to a different range, always calling cold to reset their chrono, a whole host of meanness. My membership just expired, I was planning on renewing but this has me rethinking. I dont want to drive the Parks but it might be worth the drive now.

                              I did hear Birchwood was running at a huge deficit for years but dont know if fact or rumor.

                              But, living down south, this is routine for most gun clubs. Membership price was around $500 a year with long waiting periods to become a member, 3-5 years. Yes, capped at a set membership and a member had to leave to open a slot. One club, had to be sponsored by a member to get an invite. Several clubs had a skills test to be offered a membership. Very strict rules. All guns were inspected at check in, had to be locked with no ammo in gun case. On the range, action open with a flag with no ammo on bench during a cold, nothing but 1 firearm on the bench at a time, other firearms had to action open / bolt removed / locked and in a case in a rack, had to use their bench and targets not free, no off hand or prone, no fast shooting, had to be controlled rate of fire, you were recorded even with the ROs sitting behind you in an office with big window, even speeding or creating a dust cloud and not speeding. You basically got a warning, second time and you were kicked out. But, they were well maintained clubs out to 600 yards and they all had supplied prepositioned target stands and steel plates. Benches and seats were good condition. They all had the big yellow flashing lights with a siren for cold.

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