Monthly Archives: August 2014

Help Preserve Pasadena’s Historic Archery Range

We need your help.

[UPDATE: The City Council meeting is now scheduled for February 2.] In mid-September On February 2, the Pasadena City Council will consider an agreement regarding the historic Lower Arroyo Archery Range.  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 not reserved by PRA and is available for archery use by the general public.

The agreement under consideration by the City Council is expected to essentially preserve the status quo – allowing the archery range to continue its existence at its current size and location, consistent with the City’s own Lower Arroyo Master Plan (LAMP).  The “deal points” in this proposed agreement are simply an update to the terms under which PRA will be allowed to continue its limited presence at the range.  These new terms include higher fees paid to the City, continuation of the PRA’s range maintenance responsibilities, safety credentialing of archers, and clearer demarcation of the archery range boundaries.  The agenda for the Recreation & Parks Commission meeting of February 4, 2014 includes the most recent version of the proposed deal points between the City and PRA.

Opposition to Archery in The Lower Arroyo

Some opponents of archery have seized on the proposed renegotiated agreement between PRA and the City as an opportunity to accomplish a broader objective.  A group calling itself “Stewards of Public Land” believes that:

The ultimate objective needs to be the removal of archery from the Lower Arroyo…”

This is an influential group whose founding members include Claire Bogaard, Tom Seifert, Dianne Philibosian, Ann Scheid, and Tim Brick.

In an effort to collect signatures for their petition to the Council, the Stewards of Public Land are promoting many false or misleading claims.  Contrary to what is stated on this group’s web site:

  • The archery range is not “devoted to an exclusive private use.”  It is available for public use for archery.  The archery range is a designated-use area for a specific purpose, just like other City facilities such as Brookside Golf Course, the casting pond, tennis courts, basketball courts, Hahamongna Frisbee golf course, and the lawn bowling field. Such usage is consistent with Pasadena Municipal Code (3.32.110), which specifies that archery and hiking are examples of 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 – and there is no plan to increase the current size of the range.  According to Pasadena Public Works (page 4), the Southern range is approximately 7.5 acres.  This is the only permanent designated-use area for archery in Pasadena.  An adjacent Northern range occupying approximately 4 acres is a general-use area currently used for archery less than 8 hours per month with temporary targets; at all other times the Northern range area is available for hiking and other passive recreation uses.
  • The agreement under consideration by the Council does not “permanently prohibit walking, jogging, dog-walking, birding and other forms of enjoyment of nature on the West side of the Lower Arroyo.”  All of these activities are currently allowed on the West side of the Lower Arroyo on existing trails that skirt the perimeter of the archery range.  The proposed agreement would do nothing to restrict the use of any of these existing trails.
  • danger-signThe “lovely trail” pictured on the Stewards of Public Land web site is actually a target maintenance path that crosses shooting lanes inside the boundaries of the archery range.  It’s already illegal for anyone (archers and non-archers alike) to walk between archers and targets.  Currently some pedestrians use this path as a shortcut through the range instead of staying on the City-maintained trail outside the archery range.  The proposal before the council aims to delineate the boundaries of the range more clearly in order to prevent inadvertent pedestrian intrusions into the range that compromise safety.


This map shows the size of the archery range relative to the rest of the Lower Arroyo Park, and the park's extensive network of legal hiking trails (in green), all of which lie outside the range and would continue to be available for public use.
This map shows the size of the archery range relative to the rest of the Lower Arroyo Park, and the park’s extensive network of legal hiking trails (in green), all of which lie outside the range and would continue to be available for public use.

 What About Safety?

In the interest of safety, a 2011 Pasadena Police Department report calls for the use of barriers around the range to discourage entry by hikers and other passive recreational users.   Under the proposed agreement, natural barriers would be used to prevent pedestrians from walking on a target maintenance path that crosses shooting lanes.  This is also consistent with the LAMP, which calls for hiking trails and other recreational activities to be separated from the range by means of natural barriers such as trees and rocks.

The Police Department report also specifies that “every person to use the archery range must first attend a safety course.”  The proposed agreement would require all archers using the range to prominently display City-issued credentials, reflecting completion of a safety training class or competency exam.

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).”

Measures included in the current proposal will help the range to continue its perfect safety record.

Please Help!

Help ensure that Pasadena’s historic Lower Arroyo 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 Lower Arroyo Archery Range and the people who thrive there.

With your help, we can preserve Pasadena’s only remaining archery range.  Here’s how you can help:

  • Send a brief email to, asking Council members to preserve the historic Lower Arroyo Archery Range.*
  • Sign the Pasadena Roving Archers petition.
  • Come to the City Council meeting to show your support in person.  We expect the meeting to be in be mid-October, but the agenda has not yet been announced.  (Send us an email and we’ll be sure to let you know once it has been scheduled.)

John* If you would like for your email to the city council be included as part of the official record, please copy City Clerk Mark Jomsky, and ask that it be included in the agenda packet for the meeting.

If you would like to communicate your comments to the Pasadena Roving Archers, please also copy the PRA at