Alabama, ATA Celebrate Partnership During Athens

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Alabama, ATA Celebrate Partnership During Athens Archery Park Dedication

3/18/08

The first Community Archery Park in the United States is open for business, thanks largely to the leadership of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Mayor Dan Williams of Athens, Alabama, launched the ceremonial first arrow as the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) and the Archery Trade Association (ATA) celebrated the opening of Alabama and the nation’s first ever community archery park.

Using the ATA’s Community Archery Park model, the Alabama agency worked with Athens city officials to build an exciting, centrally located site for recreational archery. The new park is designed to promote fun, safe practice for individual archers and bowhunters, as well as the community’s families, groups, students, clubs and organizations.

The project began in 2006 when the ADCNR and ATA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to form a partnership committed to growing archery and bowhunting in Alabama. When ATA introduced the Community Archery Park concept to staff from ADCNR’s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division (WFFD), the agency quickly began planning parks throughout the state. They completed the Athens project in February, integrating it into the community in a prime location near the city’s high school, municipal tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic shelters, a walking trail, and baseball and soccer fields.

Michelle Doerr, ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs said the project exceeded expectations. “Our partnership with Alabama began with an MOU in 2006 and was commemorated by a dedication attended by an entire community. It was unbelievable to see a city mayor, city council, tourism and chamber of commerce representatives, county commissioners, school superintendents, local businessmen including ATA member retailers, many interested local bowhunters and citizens, and more than 50 high school students all gathered to welcome archery into their community. Now the Athens archery park is complete and students in the area have a great facility where they can practice and play. In addition, individuals and families from the community and throughout the Limestone County now have a great place to recreate.”

Ray Metzler, ADCNR hunter education coordinator, is optimistic about the park’s future. “This is a true community archery park,” Metzler said. “We had about 50 people on the range this past Saturday. One of our local retailers is already excited about the park’s utilization, 13 local school principals are considering NASP, and the city is excited to have archery in its parks and rec program. Things are looking good.”

The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with four youth targets at 5- to 20-yard ranges, eight adult targets at 15 to 50 yards, and a 12-foot elevated platform with 3-D targets allowing bowhunters to simulate shooting from a tree stand. A simulated ground blind is also available so bowhunters can also practice from kneeling or seated positions.

The park is open daily to the public. The Alabama WFFD plans to soon build four more Community Archery Parks elsewhere in the state.

Media Contact:
Denise Jordan, (866) 266-2776 denisejordan@archerytrade.org
 

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