By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Briana Witte is aiming for a bullseye with one of the newest programs to be offered by the Wood County Park District.
Witte, a woodland specialist with the park district, is heading up the archery program which will include a new range for archers on Linwood Road, near Bowling Green.
The archery program came about as a result of town hall meetings held across Wood County, asking local residents about park programs they would like to see. Two of the top requests were kayaking, canoeing and archery. The kayaking and canoeing are now in place, and the archery is on target to be ready soon.
Archery, unlike so many other sports can be enjoyed by people of varied ages and skill levels, Witte said.
“You don’t have to be in really good shape. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be fast. You just have to be patient,” Witte said.
People will be able to use their own bows and arrows at the archery range, or they can use the compound bows purchased by the Friends of the Parks.
“These are really nice because an 8-year-old can use it and with a few adjustments, a 50-year-old can use it,” Witte said of the compound bows.
Adaptive bows will also be available for people who use wheelchairs or have other particular needs. Crossbows, which are typically used for hunting, will not be permitted at the archery range.
Once completed, the archery range will be open from dawn to dusk. It will not be staffed unless there is a class or special event planned. Classes are planned for children and adults.
“This is the only archery range in the county,” said Jamie Sands, communications specialist and volunteer coordinator. “The free, open access to being able to practice is wonderful.”
Mobile archery ranges have been offered at parks throughout the county, but the permanent range on Linwood Road will be much more convenient. The site will have room for 10 archer lanes and targets, ranging from 5 to 70 meters. There will be a shelter house with benches for the archers, spectator seating, a storage room and a parking lot for 20 cars. The stands are being constructed as part of an Eagle Scout project by Bryce Ruddock.
The archery site has been cleared, and work will begin on the range and structures once the land purchase is complete. The park district received a $1,000 grant for the project from the Henry-Wood Sportsman’s Alliance. The park district is buying the property from the Wood County Commissioners for $1, Witte said.
The area will be planted with slow-growing grass.
“If you’ve ever buried an arrow, they are difficult to find,” Witte said.
For people wanting to buy their own bows, they will find a wide range of costs from as low as $15 to thousands of dollars. “It doesn’t have to be expensive,” Witte said.
Witte has childhood memories of straw bales being set up in a friend’s yard for archery.
“I thought it was a really cool idea, and I wanted to see it go somewhere,” she said. So Witte became a certified instructor with USA Archery.
“Brianna has done so much work” on fundraisers and range schematics, Sands said.