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Rock Hawk Park is located at Lake Oconee Georgia Highway 16 at Wallace Dam in Eatonton.

U-R file photo
The Union-Recorder

Rock Hawk Effigy and Trails is adding another special attraction to its already jam-packed lineup.

Rock Hawk features of the Rock Hawk effigy, viewing towers for the effigy and wildlife, interpretive centers, educational hiking and biking trails, swimming beach, camping, fishing, canoeing trails, boating and bike and foot races. Now visitors can also check out the new archery range, complete with targets and 3-D life-size animal targets.

“Archery is a growing sport. It has become very popular in the area and all over Georgia over the past few years. Archery isn’t just for hunting anymore, and it’s a sport that anyone can take up,” said Larry Moore, one of the driving forces behind the newest addition to Rock Hawk.

The Department of Natural Resources helped to create the static range with circular bull’s-eye targets that are great for working within 25 feet to 50 yards. This summer area youth camps will focus mainly on learning the skills to master the bull’s-eye, as well as proper technique, form and safety. The range will also feature 18 lanes of 3-D, life-size animal targets.

“It is attracting a lot of families and youth. The schools have archery clubs and programs, and we have over 500 kids a year that go through these types of programs. In its history, we have never had one accident within the school programs. Safety is of utmost importance,” Moore said.

A ceremony to officially open the range to the community is set for Wednesday, from 2 to 3 p.m.

The event will take place at the new static range on the corner of Wallace Dam Road and Lawrence Shoals Park Road. Parking will be on Lawrence Shoals Park Road just inside the nearby gate.

After the introductions and welcomes have been made, the ceremony will be followed by instruction and demonstration for remainder of ceremony at static range to Archery Camp Members.

“All of our trails are free and the range is free. We want to make this as family-friendly as possible and a big attraction. We don’t give out instruction to adults, but we do have camps for the children, and the schools are offering archery as an option for learning. The colleges are adding archery classes to their schedules and adults are welcome to enroll in those, or utilize local shops that specialize in training and providing archery equipment,” Moore said.

The coordinating body for the nonprofit facility is the Historic Piedmont Scenic Byway Corporation, which formed 11 years ago and was fully incorporated in 2003. This enabled the group to apply for nonprofit grants like the Scenic Highway Project fund in order to give the community an even better rounded facility.

“Our whole area includes 15 miles of educational trails, and 15 miles of biking trails. We have 1,000 acres, and we will never stop adding additional displays to our Interpretive Centers as well as rotating the exhibits. This is always going to be an on-going project to keep this facility a wildlife management area and a safe place for families to enjoy the outdoors and learn a little more about the history here,” Moore said.

Within the year, Moore hopes to have finalized the plan for a chapter of the National Audubon Society and have the area designated as an “important birding area.”

“We hope to have this designation by the end of the summer, but it is something we have been wanting for years. We have such an array of bird species here, and we want members of the Audubon Society and those who love to watch birds to come to the area and see what we have,” Moore said.

Rock Hawk Park is located at Lake Oconee Georgia Highway 16 at Wallace Dam in Eatonton.

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