It happened that Marko and I met up at Seton park on one of the first gorgeous days this year. Everyone and their sister was there. And there wasn't much room at the shorter distances. So people had set themselves up short distances from the targets that are meant for the longer ranges. Which A) prevents people from shooting those longer distances if they want to, and B) carries some safety risk. Oh, and C) presents an awkward scenario of having to ask someone to move back.
Now, early in the season, the Parks and Rec folk haven't made it out yet to repair the targets butts that have been well, WELL used. They take so much wear and tear that first the middle gets mushy then it turns into a hole and then all the stuffing falls out, leaving just the frame. There's a lot more people using them now, so I figure, Parks and Rec's usual schedule doesn't account for the rate they're getting used. And I sez to Marko, I recalled that his site made the offer to help folks who wanted to improve their locals and maybe he should talk to Colin who spearheaded this kind of thing before. Which led Marko on a merry chase but he did it! He got the ear of the right people, and the upshot is the ground has to be firm enough for their trucks to get in there. They've given it a go already but it looks like what we really need is a petition for the sun to shine harder.
Well, Parks guys, when you get there, it'll make a big difference. People are moving to the longer ranges because there are nice buttresses totally intact. So some fresh ones, maybe some new short distance ones, maybe a sign that asks newbies to keep right (to contain errant errows)
Here's a Jane Jacobs idea I dig, especially living in a 'neighbourhood improvement area', as I do. In the nice parts of town, people put their trash in the trashcan. And if someone misses, someone else picks it up. Keeps things nice. Rough parts of town get that way because no-one picks up that one thing. Then other people figure there's no point in holding onto their wrappers till they find the bin. Progressively worse stuff compiles. Then bad guys figure no-one's looking after the place, so they set up shop. Rough sketch, I know.
So let's take your public archery range. Beautiful place, first gorgeous days of the year, and lots of people starting to take up the sport, crowding at the shorter distances, and some of those targets are getting used to pieces. Then there aren't even pieces, just frames. And ok, so Parks & Rec have a hard time getting down there because trucks get stuck in spring muck that pools at the bottom of the hill which provides 'sides' that let you have a natural archery range. A group who'd like to shoot 18m say, "Not many people use the long ranges. Let's just walk up closer." When nobody comes to say, "Hey, you should come back to the shooting line for safety," or even "because I'd like to do 50m," others follow suit. And when you ask, they say "Other people are doing it." And for the first time, we see somebody really take it wrong. Where could this go?
We ARE people who care about our place, though. Marko, who writes www.publicarchery.com, does. We got to know each other on that exact day I'm talking about. Fun site to peruse, by the way: he's building a compendium of all the public ranges in the world, figuring it can only be great to pool the good ideas. He put it together in a weekend, after he met a guy with a petition to get a second public range in our burg. (We'd like to know how that's going!) It's right there on his site: if he can help your efforts to improve your local, he will. So I asked him to! Thanks Marko, for following a trail of connections to talk to the Parks & Rec folks. And thanks in advance, Parks & Rec-ers. Your work is necessary to make the place safe. (For what it's worth, more short range targets would help, too.)
The best thing that happens at Seton is people talk to each other and make friends. Then you know if you have to ask people to be safer, they'll support you. Maybe you'll divide and conquer, each doing the ask if there are multiples that need asked. And honestly, if it comes to it, they'll even call the cops to make sure everything turns out ok. We have a great thing and we wouldn't let it change.
Bringing it around full circle, there's a plan to organize a day to pick up the trash. Check out Seton Folk to participate!