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Woodbury archery range permanently closes

A sign notifying the Carver Lake Park archery range has closed. Youssef Rddad/RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
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The City of Woodbury has permanently closed an archery range at Carver Lake Park following concerns that users dangerously fired arrows over the targets and into private land.

City staff said they decided to close the range April 18 after they found people were shooting arrows over a fence behind the targets into Bailey Nurseries.

Workers at the nursery have also begun planting seeds, which raised additional safety concerns, Woodbury spokesperson Jason Egerstrom said.

“With Bailey’s Nursery picking up business again, we're not going to put anyone in jeopardy,” he said.

The berm and fence users were shooting over are several hundred yards behind the target, and the arrows city workers found “stuck in the ground” seemed to indicate they were fired over the targets intentionally, Egerstrom said.

For several months, the nursery has raised concerns about arrows workers would periodically find in the planting fields south of the park, said Woodbury Assistant Parks and Recreation Director Mike Adams.

When the range opened this spring, Adams said workers discovered more arrows in the nurseries and in nearby park trails.

Neither park goers nor Bailey Nursery workers reported injuries due to misfired arrows, he said.

The response from archery users has been mixed.

In the hours following the city’s announcement, Adams said some users have expressed disappointment in the city’s decision while others understand the city’s reasoning.

"The city didn't want to close a popular facility, nor did Bailey Nurseries," he said. "But we both agreed that enough is enough and we needed to take further action to prevent  future harm."

Youth archery classes will still be able to use the range, but reopening the heavily used range to the public anytime soon may be a long shot.

Adams said repositioning the targets to face other directions would put targets behind Carver Lake Park’s entrance or its walking trails.

Adams pointed to the archery range at the Lake Elmo Reserve as an alternative, as well as others in Cottage Grove and Afton.

The city plans to monitor the area near the Woodbury archery range.

Questions about the Carver Lake Park archery range can be directed to Adams at 651-714-3583.