‘Archery in the Park’ geared toward beginners

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RICE LAKE STATE PARK— An event at Rice Lake State Park Saturday aims to give prospective archers a head start.


Dubbed “Archery in the Park,” it will provide basic instruction on using bows and arrows and kicks off a series of summer activities at the park.

“The program is designed to introduce kids to archery,” said Sandi Gatlin, park technician at Rice Lake.


Gatlin will be an instructor, as will a park intern. The event is open to adults interested in the sport, but is geared toward a younger audience. Some of the things covered will be safety, techniques and care of equipment.


Bows and arrows will be provided for participants, and people are not encouraged to bring their own. The format isn’t a linear class, but rather on an open, rotating basis.


The park will host multiple events throughout the summer, all of which are free of charge. Some of the activities, like archery, are part of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resource’s I Can Programs. They are designed to generate interest in a number of activities and provide an entryway for beginners to get started.


State parks throughout Minnesota will host fishing, climbing, archery and other workshops this summer as part of the program.


At Rice Lake, park officials host events in conjunction with volunteers. The next event is a workshop on the Solar System, presented by volunteer naturalist Gene Kispert and the Steele County Astronomical Society.


Other events throughout the summer include seminars on monarch butterflies and summer constellations, as well as a night hike. Another archery workshop is scheduled for Aug. 23.


Park officials know well that weather is not always cooperative, which could be the case on Saturday. The National Weather Service calls for a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms for the day. Joel Wagar, area parks and trails supervisor, said that as long as the rain and wind are tolerable, the archery will happen.


“It’s pretty sheltered where we’re at,” he said. “We’ll have a pretty good windbreak.”


Throughout the summer, people attending events at state parks would normally be required to have a purchased vehicle pass to enter the park. On Saturday, however, the vehicle fee will be waived as part of National Get Outdoors Day. All state parks will have the same policy.


Wagar said that Rice Lake State Park has seen many campers already this year, and they are ready for paddlers to arrive. Last year, the lake was intentionally lowered, leaving many kayak and canoe enthusiasts landlocked.


Chatlin encouraged people to come out and introduce themselves to archery, weather permitting.


“It gives people the opportunity to try it, see it they like it and see if it’s something they want to pursue,” she said.



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