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Operation Splat: Paintball park set to open at Camp SLO

Gladiator Paint Ball Park owner Gary Biddle.
Gladiator Paint Ball Park owner Gary Biddle. The Tribune

San Luis Obispo County will have another legal venue to dodge and shoot paintballs in mid-July.

Gladiator Paintball Park will open at Camp San Luis Obispo on about 11 acres through a special arrangement between camp officials and park owners Gary and Terri Biddle of Arroyo Grande.

“It’s a joint venture,” said Maj. Mark Johnson, the post’s public information officer. “We’re trying to help the soldiers by going into this deal.”

About two years ago, Camp San Luis Obispo officials and the Biddles began discussing the possibility that a private vendor could operate on a military post, Johnson said.

Under terms of their deal, $1 of each $15 all-day pass admission will go to the camp’s Moral Welfare Recreation fund—an account that provides athletic and entertainment equipment for its soldiers.

In exchange, the Biddles will be able to operate their business on the property rent-free.

Johnson is unsure how much money the camp fund might get annually.

The soldiers will also be able to use the park’s four fields for “adventure training” during off-peak hours at no cost, Johnson said.

Previously, the property was not being used to its fullest capacity, he said. Much of the land was used as a Leadership Reaction Course for training activities. But its life span ended three years ago when a water feature began leaking and the course was closed.

Now, the paintball fields include a junkyard complete with an airplane, military bus, three cars and a boat, giant spools for scenario games, walls and a fort for team competition. It also includes a concession stand for equipment rentals and snacks, space for future expansion, parking and a separate entrance off Cuesta College Drive to avoid confusion in entering through the camp’s main gate.

The county’s only other legal paintball park — as opposed to riverbeds and open fields where some people play illegally — is Franklin Paintball at 3085 Creston Road in Paso Robles. It’s on about five acres and also has an entrance fee of $15 per person for a day.

For more information on the parks, visit www.gladiatorpaintballpark.com or www.franklinhotsprings.com.

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