There’s something new in Metro Parks, Serving Summit County: archery ranges.
The public ranges were quietly built at two parks: Hampton Hills in North Akron and Silver Creek in Norton.
The archery ranges — with six targets each — are part of a new initiative by the park district to expand its recreational facilities.
Today fewer park visitors are swimming, sledding and ice skating, district Director-Secretary Keith Shy said.
The park district wants to offer new facilities for archery and mountain biking to attract new visitors, he said.
Mountain biking is planned at the Hardy Road area of Hampton Hills.
Additional new recreational facilities are being considered, he said.
“We have to adapt,” he said.
The initial response from archers has been positive.
“I’m very impressed,” said 58-year-old Kevin Tuttle of Copley Township.
He has used the range at Hampton Hills “a couple dozen times” since he first heard about it six weeks ago.
He may shoot for 60 to 90 minutes at a time.
He shoots mostly from 20 or 30 yards.
The facility provides “a very friendly atmosphere,” he said.
It is the first time he has used a bow and arrow since he shot 20 years ago with his son, Brian, now 32, in the backyard, Tuttle said.
Chris Wilson, 31, of Fairlawn, went out and bought a bow and arrow after seeing the new range at Hampton Hills.
His buddy, Jeff Croghan, 44, of Cuyahoga Falls, is looking at purchasing his own bow soon.
“It looked like something that would be fun to get involved in,” Croghan said of his first visit.
Wilson has made three visits in quick succession.
The shooting cost is right: It’s free, he said.
The park district opened the two ranges over Labor Day weekend with little fanfare.
Silver Creek has gotten 780 users or about 14 per day. Use at Hampton Hills is lower.
The two ranges are open from dawn to dusk at 1940 W. Steels Corners Road in Akron and 89 Eastern Road west of Medina Line Road in Wadsworth Township.
The targets range from 10 to 40 yards at Silver Creek and 10 to 50 yards at Hampton Hills.
Archers must provide their own equipment and only field tips may be used. Broadheads and firearms are prohibited.
Archers are asked to sign in and to comply with a short list of rules.
Building the two ranges cost $4,532 for the 12 targets, lumber and hardware.
The targets are 44 inches high, 37 inches wide and 15 inches thick. They consist of several layers of burlap, straw, cloth and screen material, sandwiched in a tightly woven synthetic fabric.
The park district also paid $7,560 to build a new parking lot and access drive at Silver Creek. That lot will also be used by equestrians on the bridle trail that runs next to the archery range. A parking lot existed at Hampton Hills.
A few picnic tables were provided at both ranges.
It was easy to design and build the two ranges because they both “fit in so perfectly,” district spokesman Nate Eppink said.
The park district is planning to offer introductory archery classes for adults and youth, starting next year, he said.
In another change, the district on Oct. 12 opened the lake at Silver Creek Metro Park to private canoes and kayaks.
The boats must be launched from the park’s boathouse. All boats must remain at least 100 feet from the spillway.
Previously, only rental boats were permitted on the lake and were limited to summer use.
That means that the lake will be open to anglers in canoes and kayaks throughout much of the year.
The district has also opened the lake at Munroe Falls Metro Park off South River Road in Munroe Falls to private canoes and kayaks. But fishing is prohibited at Munroe Falls.
Both lakes are open daily from dawn to dusk.
For more information, call 330-867-5511.
Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.