History of Farragut WMA

History

Farragut WMA was formerly the site of the Farragut Naval Training Center established by the United States Navy in 1942. The base was established in response to military training needs for World War II. It took only six months from the start of construction until the first of the 293,381 recruits who passed through Farragut Naval Training Center arrived for training. In total, the Farragut Naval Training Station took four years to build and required 22,000 workers for construction. The base cost over 100 million dollars and became the second largest base in the world at the time of its construction. 

On June 6, 1946, Farragut Naval Training Center was decommissioned, as surplus to U.S. military needs. From 1947 to 1949, the base was used as the site of Farragut Technical College. Idaho Fish and Game began to acquire the Naval Base property in 1949, when it purchased four separate parcels that border Lake Pend Oreille. Acquisition was completed in 1950 when the United States transferred 3,854 acres to the department with a conditional deed stating that the property must be managed for wildlife conservation purposes; thus, Farragut Wildlife Management Area was established. 

In 1964, the department deeded 2,566 acres of the Farragut WMA back to the U.S. government. The U.S. government in turn transferred these 2,566 acres to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) with a conditional deed that it be used as a Public Park. In 1965, the Idaho legislature passed legislation establishing Farragut State Park. Later, IDPR transferred 80 acres of abandoned railroad right-of-way back to the U.S. government who then gifted it to Kootenai County as a public recreation trail. In 1991, IDPR accepted a donation of five acres of private land adjacent to the Park. 

Today the department and the IDPR cooperatively administer by formal agreement 1,418 acres of Farragut WMA and 2,491acres of Farragut State Park. The Farragut Shooting Range is located on the Farragut WMA owned by the department. The shooting range has continued to be used by the Idaho citizenry from 1946 to the present. Daily operational oversight of recreational activities at the range is administered by the IDPR.