NEW ULM, Minn. –Nevada’s $60 million Clark County Shooting Park in northwest Las Vegas was recently dedicated at an event the Archery Trade Association (ATA) helped sponsor.

The park is expected to become a center for archery and bowhunting growth in southern Nevada due, in part, to the ATA’s commitment to fund an archery coordinator position at the park’s education center. The ATA contributed $40,000 this year and has committed to another $40,000 in 2010 to cost-share the position with the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Chris Cheff, the newly hired archery coordinator, will begin introducing the National Archery in the School Program (NASP) and After School Archery Programs (ASAP) in nearby communities. Together, these introductory programs – combined with a shooting facility like the park in Las Vegas – provide a base for the general public to gain exposure to archery.

After that, there’s the opportunity to participate in additional archery programs to improve skills and knowledge of archery and bowhunting, allowing those in the community to become true participants in the sports. Long term, growing archery and bowhunting participation will increase equipment sales, which include an 11 percent excise tax payment that ultimately funds state wildlife conservation efforts.

“Our role in this massive project – which brought many community, state and national groups together – is about doing the legwork and putting that person on the ground, in the community, who will carry a single focus: to introduce archery and bowhunting through archery programs like NASP and ASAP,” said Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/president, who attended the park dedication on behalf of the archery and bowhunting industry. “Archery must be readily accessible to as many people as possible. Communities need repeated exposure to archery programs and easy access to shooting facilities.”

Now, these pieces are in place and the nucleus of ranges and introductory programs are situated in urban Las Vegas, a large and densely populated audience.

“By targeting large population centers and vast numbers of youngsters and beginners, we have the potential to get more bang for every dollar we invest to introduce archery and bowhunting,” said McAninch.

The facility features:

24 combination trap and skeet fields with a pro shop and cafeteria;
An archery range and building with a 30-seat classroom and restrooms;
A public rifle and pistol range with a pro shop and convenience store;
A hunter education center with a 90-seat classroom with archery, rifle, pistol and shotgun ranges and a simulated hunting course; and
A shotgun center with 80 spaces for recreational vehicles that will house safety officers on-site.

“When the idea was hatched to build the largest shooting park in the nation, we also wanted to have a hunter education center as part of the shooting park,” said Ken Mayer, Nevada Department of Wildlife Director. “Then, we worked with the ATA to fund the archery coordinator position. We couldn’t have done it without them in the face of agency budget cuts.”
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The park also features night lighting, a 100-meter archery range with 10 positions, a 100-yard range with10 positions and a 50-yard range with 20 positions. The center contains a shotgun range and two walking field courses. Meanwhile, the Archery Center houses a known-distance archery range, covered firing points, classroom area, restrooms and shade ramadas.

Those in attendance at the shooting park dedication included U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.; Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev.; Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons (R); Clark County Commission Chairman Rory Reid; and DOW Commissioner Tom Collins.

About the ATA: Since 1953 ATA has been the trade association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales representatives and others working in the archery and bowhunting industry. ATA is dedicated to making the industry profitable by decreasing business overhead, and reducing taxes and government regulation while increasing participation in archery and bowhunting. ATA owns and manages the ATA Trade Show, the archery and bowhunting industry’s largest and longest running trade show worldwide.