Aiming for new events: Archery facility opening at Southside Park

single-meta-cal December 19, 2017

Updated on December 20 at 2:58 p.m. to add language that clarifies the park is free for everyone. However, to use archery equipment and facility, residents from ages 16 to 64 must have a state hunting license.

Like so much else, give Hollywood credit for this explosion.

Archery has enjoyed a steady growth in participation, and some experts are citing movies like “The Hunger Games” and TV series like “Game of Thrones” with sparking the growth.

“The popularity of The Hunger Games series is fueling an interest in the sport of archery,” NPR reported.

This archery park is going to be a great asset for the community to use every day.”

Now, the City of Huntsville is along for the ride.

The Huntsville Community Archery Park has been built at the Southside Park at 15935 Chaney Thompson Rd.

The park is a partnership between the City of Huntsville’s Parks and Recreation Department, the Alabama Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the Madison County Commission, the Huntsville Sports Commission and the Archery Trade Association.

The Alabama Department of Natural Resources and Conservation provided 80 percent of the funding and will maintain the targets and equipment. The Madison County Commission provided the remaining 20 percent balance in funding. The City is responsible for the general maintenance of the facility.

“This archery park is going to be a great asset for the community to use every day,” said Ralph Stone, executive director of the Huntsville Sports Commission. “From a sports commission standpoint, it will help us meet our mission. We hope to host competitions that bring individuals into Huntsville to drive the economic impact.”

Things to know

Some arrow-points, as it were, to know about the Huntsville Archery Park:

  • Safety is a primary concern, according to Parks and Recreation Director Steve Ivey. “They have all the safety rules and have done all the engineering to assure it’s safe,” he said.
  • It will be open year-round during normal park hours.
  • There will be a 10-target adult range from 15 to 70 yards, a four-target youth range of 5 to 15 yards.
  • There is an elevated platform with four targets from 10 to 40 yards for bowhunters to simulate hunting conditions. Said Stone, “Not many bowhunters have that opportunity in their backyards or their own acreage to practice. This gives them a place to come practice on a regular basis. It gives them the ability to shoot year-round.”
  • The use of the park is free for everyone.
  • Residents from ages 16 to 64 must have a state hunting license, a Wildlife Management Area license or Wildlife Heritage license. Non-residents must have an annual WMA license or non-resident hunting license. The license is required, as the funds generated from such licenses help build free archery parks throughout the state of Alabama.
  • This is one of 14 community archery parks inaugurated by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the first in Madison County.

“The state has wanted to come in here for years with an archery park and a lot of our citizens have asked for an archery range,” Ivey said. “It’s big in Madison County. There are archery classes in some schools, and we have staff people trained for archery programs.”

“Archery brings in big numbers,” Stone said. “It’s not mainstream in terms of baseball and football and soccer, but there are a tremendous number of people of all ages who have a keen interest in archery. It’s a big program in schools and there are regional competitions that draw hundreds of competitors. It’s an up-and-coming sport.”

Thanks, partially, to Hollywood.

READ: Quivers at the Ready – Southside Archery Park is Open