Arrows fly at grand opening for free community archery park in Huntsville

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. –  A ceremonial volley marked the opening of a new archery park in Huntsville on Tuesday.

Public officials shot the first targets at the new Southside Community Archery Park on Chaney Thompson Road during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Anyone can use the range year-round for free to do some recreational shooting, but if you're between the ages of 16 - 64 you'll need a hunting license, Wildlife Management Area license, or Wildlife Heritage license.

City leaders say this park will lead to new opportunities.

"Archery is a really growing sport," explained Huntsville City Council member Jennie Robinson. "The county actually has a couple of high schools that have teams and tournaments. They're very popular. We are hoping the same thing can happen here in Huntsville."

The range is possible through a partnership between Huntsville, Madison County, and state agencies.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, the Archery Trade Association, the Madison County Commission, the Huntsville Sports Commission, and Huntsville Parks and Recreation were involved. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries paid for 80% of the facility's total $115,000 cost. The Madison County Commission, through Commissioner Phil Riddick, covered the other 20%.

Huntsville Parks and Recreation will maintain the facility, which includes a 10-target adult range from 15-70 yards, a 4-target youth range of 5-15 yards, and an elevated platform with four targets from 10-40 yards.

“It’s amazing what can happen when a community works together,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “Our residents want more and more recreation options, and we are excited to present them with another opportunity for outdoor fun.”

The archery park will be open year-round during normal park hours for recreational shooting, competitive tournaments and outdoor educational programming.

Along with general community usage, the Huntsville Sports Commission (HSC) is excited about the possibilities for this new archery park.

“We expect to host several competitions that will bring out-of-town visitors as well as giving our local archers a place to practice their skills,” said Ralph Stone, director of HSC.