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Park Pick : Target Practice

Lockhart lessons help you hit the bull’s eye.

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

Winter doldrums got you down? Need a boost? Here’s a suggestion: Bundle up, head outside and shoot a bow. Liz LaRue, an interpretive ranger at Lockhart State Park, will show you how.

"I’ve always had an interest in archery,"she says. "My grandfather was a bow hunter, and when I was nine years old, he bought me one. We’d go to the archery range and practice. I never hunted for game, but I target-practiced a lot. That time my grandfather spent with me meant so much. It also inspired me to love nature and do the kind of outdoors work I do today."

This month and next, LaRue will teach four afternoon sessions, open to all ages. Bows and arrows are provided at no cost; just call ahead to reserve a spot. “There’s also no charge for the classes,” she adds. “Participants will need to pay the $2 park entrance fee, but that’s it!” The park’s new classes are affiliated with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s archery program, which promotes the challenging sport in more than 250 Texas schools.

Aside from teaching archery, LaRue hosts other monthly outdoor programs, such as nature hikes, bird walks and wildlife gardening. Check the park’s online calendar for more information and schedules.

Throughout the 263-acre park, stone bridges, dams along Clear Fork Creek and other structures stand in silent testament to the hard work of Civilian Conservation Corps workers, who built Lockhart State Park in the 1930s. On a scenic overlook, they also constructed a wood-framed recreation hall, a popular site for weddings, reunions and church groups.

"A local man who worked on the project as a young man told us how, around lunch time, he’d look through a surveying tool called a transit and check the clock on our county courthouse," says J. Hess, park manager. "That building is two and a half miles away!"

Workers also built the park’s nine-hole golf course, open daily year-round. Park facilities include campsites with utilities and water/electricity only, 1.5 miles of hiking trails, picnic tables, a swimming pool, playground and multi-use basketball courts.

"What I enjoy most about this park is its rural setting, even though we’re close to Lockhart," Hess says."Just about every night, you can hear coyotes howl. You can also spot bobcats, deer and armadillos. And on the creek, we have a beaver family."

One-hour archery sessions will run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 13. Each session is limited to six right-handed students and two left-handed. Accessible for the mobility and hearing impaired.

Lockhart State Park is located one mile south of Lockhart off U.S. 183. For more information, call 512-398-3479 or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/lockhart.

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