CPW aims for future archery range at Elkhead Reservoir
Officials at Elkhead Reservoir State Park are in the early stages of planning and developing an archery range that could attract bow-drawing, thrill-seeking shooters from around Colorado and the rest of the country.
In a presentation before Craig City Council Tuesday night, Oct. 22, Senior Park Ranger Mark Lehman and Park Manager Jacob Dewhirst of Colorado Parks and Wildlife said they plan to utilize the Greenwood Cove area of Elkhead State Park.
“Greenwood Cove does not see a ton of use,” Lehman said. “That’s why we chose that site.”
Dewhirst and Lehman told council they already have money set aside and welcomed the city’s support.
“Basically we’ve been approved already through a grant from the state park system to develop this range here at Elkhead,” Lehman said. “It’s within our lease to develop Elkhead for recreation, but that also happens to fall on City of Craig property. So we first of all want to get your buy-in on it. It’s something we’re really excited about and we know it’s going to be a great addition for the community.”
CPW plans to design as many as five archery lanes up to 40 yards.
“Realistically, that’s what archers need — at least a 40-yard shot,” Lehman said.
But, those are just the real archery ranges. CPW is planning a virtual, 3-D range facility as well.
“The area we’re really excited about for this project is this walking 3-D-based trail range,” Lehman said. “We’ll be developing a trail that’s between a tenth and two-tenths of a mile. So, it’s not real long. And from this trail there will be various shooting platforms that we build out. From those platforms you’ll be shooting out at 3-D targets, animal targets. We’ll have turkeys and bears, mule deer, and velociraptors — all kinds of things you can expect to shoot.”
Lehman said there aren’t any plans to charge more for entry to the park.
“With this addition of the archery range, we don’t have any intention of charging a fee specific to using that,” Lehman said. “We’re paying for this through this grant and we’d like to offer this to the community for no further expense than what they’ve ever paid to access Elkhead for recreation.”
Lehman is hoping the new range will attract outdoor enthusiasts to Elkhead.
“The 3-D, walking-based part of the range, we think that’s going to be the draw for this particular facility,” Lehman said. “What we’re aiming to do here is really simulate what you’d experience on an actual hunt out there.”
Dewhirst said adding more than two dozen electric sites to one of Craig’s closest state parks has had a major affect.
“Adding 30 electric sites to Elkhead has put Elkhead on the map in a different way, and we saw that over the course of the summer,” Dewhirst said. “…they’re staying for a week instead of two nights, so we’re seeing a paradigm shift in recreation at Elkhead. We’re trying to stay ahead of it.”
Though council didn’t take any action on Dewhirst and Lehman’s presentation, City Attorney Sherman Romney advised council they could take a look at the lease and CPW’s project.
“We’ll probably take a look at the lease and then take some action,” Romney said. “… We could put another item on the agenda, otherwise, I’d say we come back at the next meeting.”
Councilman Paul James asked where the funding was coming from.
“This is all state funding?” James asked.
To which Lehman and Dewhirst replied it was.
“Yes,” Lehman said. “But, I mean, if you all want to throw some money at it.”
Dewhirst wants to use the facility to attract 4-H kids, archery teams, and possibly archery competitions to Elkhead State Park.
“We’d like to do 15 to 20 static targets, and I think 20 is the standard for a lot of those shoots,” Dewhirst said. “…We have all kinds of possibilities for this project.”
Mayor Jarrod Ogden hinted council would likely take up CPW’s archery range again soon.
“It sounds like we will have some kind of item soon on our agenda,” Ogden said.