Archery range reopenedGrab that bow and arrow, resident Robin Hoods: archers can again take aim in Cottage Grove.
Grab that bow and arrow, resident Robin Hoods: archers can again take aim in Cottage Grove.
Just months after teenaged vandals decimated the city’s popular archery range with a series of blazes in May and June, the wooded practice area in Pinetree Pond Park is again open to bow hunting enthusiasts.
And this time, the city’s park and recreation director says, would-be vandals beware: these new, steel targets are supposed to be fireproof.
The city spent roughly $5,000 to replace the wooden targets that were burned to the ground, said Zac Dockter, Cottage Grove’s park and recreation director.
The new targets are “steel-framed, with a sheet metal roof,” Dockter said. “Everything is welded together. They should be very durable; should be fire resistant.”
All but one of the park’s 12 targets was destroyed over the course of two separate nights in late April and early May, rendering the range unusable for almost three months. Some of the targets sat in a heavily wooded part of the park, but the fires didn’t affect the surrounding trees.
Two Cottage Grove teenage boys, a 13-year-old and 14-year-old, admitted to police they set the fires. It marked the biggest outbreak of park vandalism in the city since a string of port-a-potty fires in 2006, Cottage Grove police said.
And it left the city without one of its most popular park amenities, Dockter said. The park and recreation department fielded several calls and e-mails per week about the out-of-commission archery range each week during the summer.
Dockter says the timing of the range’s reopening couldn’t be better.
“People are very happy with how quickly we got it reopened,” he said. “This time of year is real busy — August through the end of September — so people are real happy.”
If you go
Cottage Grove Archery Range is located at Pinetree Pond Park, 8300 Isleton Court S.