Fish and Wildlife officials call off archery park plans

State wildlife managers this afternoon abruptly suspended their plans to build an archery park at the Denman Wildlife Area, saying an Oregon legislator instead wants them to step back and look at helping support local private ranges.

Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, asked the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to cancel its scheduled public meeting Monday at the wildlife area to present its plans to the public, said Russ Stauff, the ODFW's Rogue Watershed manager who is spearheading the range effort.

Stauff said Esquivel wants the agency to "take a step back" on building its own range and instead look at developing other opportunities. Stauff declined further comment.

The Medford area is home to two archery shops with indoor ranges and an outdoor range is outside of Eagle Point.

Esquivel did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

The planned Denman archery park off East Gregory Road was designed to include separate covered, outdoor shooting areas for youth, bowhunters and archers who could shoot at targets at the Olympic distance of 90 meters.

The park was set to be free for use by the public, local shooting clubs and youth groups. It would have been open during the wildlife area's normal hours of sunrise to sunset.

The design was based on one offered by the Archery Trade Association, which has seen a spike in archery interest after recent movies like "Hunger Games" and a good United States showing in the recent Olympics.

— Mark Freeman

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