Alabama's First Community Archery Park Now Open
Alabama's first community archery park officially opened in Athens, Alabama with a ceremonial "first shot" by Athens Mayor Dan Williams. The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFF) partnered with the Archery Trade Association through the Community Archery Program (CAP) and the City of Athens to construct the new Athens Archery Park, providing opportunities for individuals, families, groups, school students, clubs, and organizations to enjoy archery.
The new state-of-the-art facility is equipped with four youth targets (5-20 yards), eight adult targets (15-50 yards) and a 12-foot elevated platform with 3-D and Olympic style targets available for bowhunters to simulate hunting or shooting from a treestand. A simulated ground blind will also be available for bowhunters to practice shooting from a kneeling or seated position. The park will be open to the public during daylight hours.
"We are extremely appreciative of everyone who made this new archery park possible, including the Career/Technical Education students from Limestone County Area Vocational Technical School who assisted in building the target frames for the new archery park as part of their curriculum," said WFF Director Corky Pugh. "Not only will the facility be used by the public, but in the future, students in the Athens City and Limestone County School Systems who enroll in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) will also benefit in having an outdoor practice facility." The NASP is a joint venture between the ADCNR and the Alabama Department of Education promoting student education and participation in the sport of archery as part of a school's physical education course and after school programs. One-hundred Alabama schools are participating in the NASP this school year.
Alabama Department of Education Career and Technical Education Director Sherry Key said, "Anytime our students have an opportunity to help their local community and gain valuable hands-on experience, at the same time, is truly wonderful. This project is a great example of teamwork and demonstrates the significant impact that our students will have in the future success of Alabama." Career/Tech students from schools in other areas of the state have assisted ADCNR in the past with other projects. The construction of four additional CAP archery parks is planned in other areas of the state in the near future.
"This is a wonderful addition to our Parks and Recreation Department," said Athens Mayor Dan Williams. "We are very excited about the many features this facility will offer not only to our community but to people from other places as well. We certainly are looking forward to using the Archery Range to bring visitors to our City for tournaments and other events."
The facility can be used for permitted archery tournaments and instruction. The Athens Parks and Recreation Department Staff will receive training to become certified to teach archery that will be offered as part of their Instructional Sports Programs.
Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/President said, "We are excited to partner with ADCNR to develop this first community archery program in the state of Alabama. I’m sure with the enthusiasm and excitement of the school, city and county, that this will be a great program to recruit new archers in the area and become a model site for similar programs elsewhere in the state." McAninch added, "We hope the Athens community finds archery to be a great activity for families who are looking to get outdoors and enjoy some physical exercise."
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama's natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.