Help Preserve Pasadena’s Historic Archery Range

The Pasadena City Council has for some time been considering an agreement regarding the historic Lower Arroyo Archery Range, and will bring the issue to be heard at a public meeting, the date of which is yet to be determined.  This is Pasadena’s last remaining archery range, and it has been in the Lower Arroyo Park for 79 years — in fact, it is the world’s oldest continually operating field archery range.

Tad-and-WylaThe Pasadena Roving Archers (PRA) maintain the range and use it for 14 hours per week to provide inexpensive archery instruction to the public and to conduct archery tournaments – which are also open to the public.  The city is paid a portion of the fees collected for these classes and tournaments.  For the remaining 85% of the hours during which the park is open, the range is available for archery use by the public.

The agreement under consideration essentially preserves the status quo – allowing the archery range to continue to exist in the park as it has for so long, and as described in the city’s own Lower Arroyo Master Plan.

  • The agreement does not increase the size of the archery range.
  • The agreement does not increase the number of hours that the Pasadena Roving Archers use the range.  The PRA does not have – and does not want – exclusive use of the area.
  • The archers have not requested any action be taken in the Arroyo. The PRA are not making any demands or seeking anything other than to continue operating.

JohnIn its 79-year history, there has never been an archery accident on the range, and the agreement would help maintain this perfect safety record by improving safety in two concrete ways:

  1. Natural barriers would be used to prevent pedestrians from walking on a target maintenance trail that crosses shooting lanes.  This is consistent with the Master Plan, which calls for hiking paths and other recreational activities to be separated from the range by means of natural barriers such as trees and rocks.
  2. All archers using the range would be required to prominently display City-issued credentials, reflecting completion of a safety training class or competency exam.

The agreement would also increase the fees paid by the Pasadena Roving Archers to the city.  According to the report by the city’s Public Works Administrator, “it is anticipated that the execution of this agreement will result in a significant increase in revenue to the City.”

Recently, a group of Pasadena residents who believe that “[t]he ultimate objective needs to be the removal of archery from the Lower Arroyo” have created a group called “Stewards of Public Land” in an effort to generate support for their cause.

Unfortunately, much of the information on the group’s web site is misleading or erroneous.  For example, contrary to what is stated on the web site:

  • The agreement under consideration does not “permanently prohibit walking, jogging, dog-walking, birding and other forms of enjoyment of nature on the West side of the Lower Arroyo”.  Pasadena is home to nearly 25 miles of hiking trails in the Arroyo Seco alone, and the agreement would do nothing to restrict the use of any of these existing trails.
  • The archery range is not “devoted to an exclusive private use.”  It is available for public use for archery.  The archery range is a dedicated area for a specific purpose, just like Brookside golf course, the casting pond, tennis courts, basketball courts, Hahamongna Frisbee golf course, and the lawn bowling field. The proposal is consistent with Pasadena Municipal Code (3.32.110), which specifies that archery and hiking are both permitted activities, and that all permitted activities must be restricted to their defined activity areas.
  • The size of the archery range is not 18 Acres.  According to Pasadena Public Works, the Southern range is approximately 7.5 acres.  The Northern range is approximately 4 acres, and is used for archery less than 8 hours per month – at all other times this area is available for hiking and other passive recreation uses.

RangeSizeThis map illustrates the size of the archery range relative to the rest of the Lower Arroyo Park.

What About Safety?

As noted above, the proposal improves safety, in part by using natural barriers to keep pedestrians from taking a shortcut through the archery range when walking in the Lower Arroyo.  The 2011 Pasadena Police Department report calls for the elimination of walking through the range and the construction of barriers to prevent this dangerous practice.   So does the Master Plan.

It’s important to assess safety based on facts rather than perception.  The fact is, there has never been an archery accident at this range in its entire 79-year history.

This perfect safety record is not due to some unusual string of luck, this is the norm for archery.

National Safety Council statistics indicate that archery is more than three times safer than golf.  And nearly all of the accidents that contribute to those statistics are from bow hunters cutting themselves on sharp hunting arrowheads that are prohibited at this range.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks commissioned a study of the safety of archery. They concluded that:

“archery is one of the safest sports, with an injury rate of less than one incident per 1,000 participants, in 2004 (Table 1). Recreational activities like golf and fishing have an injury rate of up to 1.5 to 2 times the rate for archery (Figure 1). Common sports like soccer, baseball and basketball have injury rates 15 to 25 times that of archery (Figure 1).”

The PRA believes that measures included in the current proposal will help the range to continue its perfect safety record.

Please Help!

Help ensure that the Historic Pasadena Field Archery Range continues to be the vital place it has been for nearly 80 years. Join in the call to the Pasadena City Council to protect and preserve the Historic Pasadena Field Archery Range and the people who thrive there.  Here’s how you can help:

  • Sign our petition.
  • Come to the city council meeting on September 15  to show your support in person.
  • Send a brief email to the Pasadena City Council, asking them to preserve the historic Lower Arroyo Archery Range.
    • If you would like for your email to be included as part of the official record, please copy City Clerk Mark Jomsky, mjomsky@cityofpasadena.net and ask that it be distributed to all of the council members and included in the agenda packet for the meeting.
    • You can send an email to all council members at City_Council@cityofpasadena.net
    • If you live in Pasadena, you can find your city council district at http://cityofpasadena.net/Map/ and send an email to your council member.

With your help, we can preserve Pasadena’s only remaining archery range.

Celebrating the art of the Bow and Arrow in the Lower Arroyo since 1935