3.31.09 | Alabama’s Community Archery Program Expected to Increase Archery Participation
SALT LAKE CITY – The Community Archery Program (CAP) in Cullman, Ala. received $52,000 from the Archery Trade Association (ATA) to fund a local archery park, provide equipment and increase school involvement in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).
The $285,000 project is a collaborative effort between the City of Cullman, the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (ADWFF) and the ATA. The Cullman Community Archery Park is the second of six Alabama archery facilities now completed or under way as part of CAP. The first such state-of-the-art archery park opened in 2008 in Athens, about 50 miles from Cullman. Meanwhile, the ADWFF is building archery parks in Dothan and Demopolis, and will soon break ground in Heflin. The state is also negotiating for an archery park in Huntsville.
We’re not slowing down,” said Stuart Goldsby, Alabama’s regional hunter education coordinator for the ADWFF. “We might not be building the biggest facilities in the country, but we’re working with our communities to build grassroots archery parks that involve everyone from schools to rec departments to bowhunting clubs. If it weren’t for the support of the ATA and the archery industry, none of this would be possible. The people of Alabama value this partnership.”
The ATA’s CAP, launched by Alabama’s state wildlife agency, has been embraced by other state and local government leaders across the country. CAP promotes NASP as a key introduction to archery, works to make the sport available in local community recreation programs and funds the shooting facilities all archers need to participate in shooting year round. In 2007 and 2008 alone, the ATA provided more than $400,000 to develop CAP in Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey and Tennessee.
As work on the Cullman Archery Park progressed in 2008, Cullman-area bowhunters formed the Heritage Archery Club, a local chapter of the Bowhunters of Alabama, the state’s largest, most active archery association. Within a week, the club became the state’s third largest chapter, no doubt evidence of what a local archery park can do to grassroots participation.
The archery park also will help the ADWFF create school and recreational archery programs in the city of Cullman and surrounding Cullman County. Of the total project amount, $55,000 funded NASP in the Cullman area. Earlier ATA donations to Alabama included $15,000 to help the ADWFF launch the state’s NASP. In all, the ATA has provided the ADWFF more than $100,000 in grants and equipment to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities in the state. In 2008, 147 Alabama schools participated in NASP and, as a result of CAP in Athens, Ala., 15 new schools were added to NASP.
“Alabama has been aggressive in promoting and developing the CAP model, and building on the success and popularity of the NASP,” said Michelle Doerr, the ATA’s director of archery and bowhunting programs. “They’re on track to build two to three archery parks a year for the next few years for everything from school to after-school shooting programs to 3-D tournaments. They’re doing a great job of working with the entire community to get people involved and excited about archery.”
The Cullman archery park features 36 targets, including an eight-target beginner’s range from 5 to 20 yards; an eight-target general target range of 15 to 50 yards; a four-target bowhunting range of 10 to 40 yards with a 12-foot platform; and a 16-target walking course with shots out to 70 yards.
Since 2004, the ATA has provided funding totaling approximately $884,000– including grants provided through CAP – to initiate NASP in the United States, Canada and Australia. It has also contributed nearly $960,000 in CAP grants, equipment and direct aid to state wildlife agencies to grow archery and expand bowhunting opportunities.
Did You Know?
In June 2008, Director Dale Hall of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that ATA-sponsored youth archery/bowhunting programs will begin this year on at least 16 national wildlife refuges across the country.