The Sandhills Archery Club was started in Kindred, North Dakota area in the early 1950s. It was made up of local people who built a field archery course along the Cheyenne River southeast of Kindred near the farm of Dennis Lee.
As a point of interest, one of the members of the original Sandhills Archery Club, Lowell Simonson harvested what was probably the first legal deer in the first modern day North Dakota archery deer season in 1954. At 12:10 PM of opening day, Lowell killed a whitetail doe on what was to become the 80-yard target of the front 14 of the outdoor range northeast of Kindred.
The history of our current Sandhills Archery Club has to start with the formation of the Fargo Archery Club. In the early 1970s the City of Fargo closed Dike West for archery use. After a great deal of red tape and meetings with the Park Board, land for a 14 target field archery range was located at the site of the present Trollwood Park in North Fargo. A clubhouse was formed in a building left from the old Cass County Hospital. The club held its first club tournament.
The spring flood of 1975 ruined the outdoor range, vandals burned the clubhouse and the city demolished the remains of the structure.
The archers persisted and Jerome and Gordon Fjelstad made a plot of ground available northeast of Kindred at no charge. Two 14-target field archery courses, a practice range, and tree stand were constructed. The indoor range was established at the American Sportsmans building until it was closed by fire in 1978. After that the archers shot one night a week at St. Anthonys school gymnasium until Tom Lykken opened an indoor range and pro shop in 1980. In 1981 the club moved to the basement of the Moose Lodge in downtown Fargo.
In October of 1999 the indoor range moved from the basement of the Moose Lodge in downtown Fargo, across the street from the Fargo Theater, where it had operated since 1981. The Indoor Range is now located at the Sandhills Archery Park located in the NW part of West Fargo, ND. The new indoor range has been constructed in the metal storage building and offers a new, heated indoor shooting range. Initially, the range will be opened three evenings during the week until April 15th, on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 10:00 PM with days subject to change.
Staffed by volunteers, the range featured various leagues including the Bowhunter Sportsmans League which projected pictures of animals on the target wall. The Las Vegas league and the 300 leagues also met on weekday evenings.
A Range Captain who is in charge of the facilities each evening mans the indoor range. Information and equipment for tuning you bow and the paper testing equipment is also available to members during the periods when there is no league shooting taking place.
If you just want to talk to and meet other archers, the indoor range is the place to go during the winter months. This facility provides a shooting distance of 10 and 30 yards with good lighting and a safe shooting area.
In 1980 a few members of Sandhills Archery started the goal of someday being able to purchase a piece of land to build an out-door archery park. A special fund was started to meet that goal. In the fall of 1994 the club was able to purchase and pay for 25 acres of land located on the west side of West Fargo, North Dakota. The Sandhills Archery Park was born.
- A basic plan was drawn up and a goal was set to make the park handicap accessible.
- An area straight west of the walk-in gate was selected as the picnic area...
- The fire-ring was placed and the 10 existing picnic tables were sprayed and set in place around the fire ring.
- Members paid for all the material and erected a 6 high chain link fence around the property which is bordered on the west by the West Fargo Diversion ditch and the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad on the north.
- 14 field round targets were assembled and erected along the north and west sides of the park.
- 14 lanes were cut through an existing grove of trees for the 3-D animal targets.
- A return lane was cut through the woods from target 28 and exits toward the practice range.
- Dirt was then hauled to build backstops and elevated lanes to the 14 field round targets and the 14 3-D targets.
- Additional lanes were laid out to the picnic area and the walking lane which circles the pond and connects the practice range, field rounds, picnic area, 3-D targets and future areas.
- The 8 Practice Range targets were set at 10-yard intervals through 60 yards with two additional targets set at 20 yards. The practice range was backed up with an earthen dike about 120 long and 12 high to catch any arrows which might happen to miss a target. An additional dike was also built for the two extra 20-yard targets for closer retrieval of arrows which miss those targets.
- Shelters have been placed in 8 locations around the park. The largest shelter is located just inside the walk-in gate next to the childrens playground.
- Four of the shelters and open picnic tables were placed in the picnic area around the fire ring. The shelters were hauled in and erected in November & December.
- A kiosk was placed at the Charyl Avenue entry, which supports a Sandhills Archery Park logo sign.
- Another kiosk was placed at the end of the Field Round Course and start of the 3-D Course. Installed a combination entry control lock so members do not have to carry keys to gain access to the park.
- In December a 40 by 80 metal storage building was erected with access from the North east side of the parking lot.
- January 6th all the equipment and targets were moved to the new storage building saving the club about $150.00 per month in rental storage costs.
- 50 green ash trees, 8 high, were planted in the spring of 1996.
- The spring brought a flood to the property and delayed early development plans on one hand, and on the other, provided information as to where the trails needed to be built up and where to place drains to go with the natural flow of water through the park.
- A third kiosk was located inside the walk-in gate and provides information about the layout of the park, park rules, a calendar of events and other general information about the park.
- The practice range received an 18 by 96-foot concrete shooting area with nine tables and benches.
- During the summer, with the assistance of the ND Army Reserve a 213 deep well was dug to provide water to the park.
- Electrical service was brought into the park. The service is adequate to meet the needs of the long-term plans for the Archery Park. Initially, cable was laid to the well, the storage building, the playground shelter, the picnic area shelters and the area designated for the new restrooms.
- A septic holding tank was also put in place so we will be able to complete the restrooms once we have the money.
- Sidewalk was poured from walk-in gate past the playground shelter to the practice range. Lanes were elevated through the trees.
- Planted 2500 trees around the park.
- Purchased the Allis Chalmers B tractor with a belly mower.
- Erected playground equipment just inside the walk-in gate.
- Poured walk up lanes to the 10 and 20 yard targets on the Practice Range.
- Sand was added to the floor of the storage building raising it above the flood level.
- Concrete slabs were hauled into the north part of the storage building.
- The outside perimeter of the building was also built up with railroad ties and rock bed.
- A short sidewalk and small patch of gravel were placed in the parking lot near the walk-in gate for accessibility.
- Cement slabs were poured in seven of the eight shelters around the park.
- An elevated shooting platform was placed at the Broadhead Pit which is located on the Field Round Course.
- Two additional arms were added to the pond doubling the pond size and providing clay for the new road.
- Continued to gravel the parking lot.
- Erected light poles from walk-in gate to the picnic area.
- Benches were placed in various locations around the trails and shooting areas.
- Finished graveling the parking lot and adding to the sidewalk on the west side of the parking lot.
- Stocked the pond with fish.
- Bow racks were added to the 3-D range
- New road to the park Archery Avenue NW was built using clay from the pond
- Electricity was run to lights from walk-in gate to the Practice Range, Picnic area and northwest shelter.
- Wood chipped the Broadhead Pit.
- Installed security light on indoor range building and erected 7 light poles in the parking lot.
- Poured a cement floor, insulated, heated and converted the storage building to an indoor shooting range.
- Had a phone installed at the park in the indoor range.
- Moved all the equipment from the downtown indoor range to the indoor range at the park.
- January the new indoor heated range opened at the park.
- Added eight feet across the front of the indoor range to make room for the new restrooms.
- Water line was run with hydrants near the playground shelter and the indoor range.
- Concrete table pads were added in the Picnic area.
- Shelters and kiosks were painted forest green.
- Lights were installed on the practice range to be available between 5 PM and 11 PM daily.
- Additional Flag pole was added by the pond.
- Storage facility was added north of the indoor range.
- A concrete floor was added to the south shelter. Now all shelters have concrete floors and are painted the same.
- An 8 addition was added to the front of the Indoor range and two handicapable restrooms were installed.
- Sidewalks to all the targets on the practice range were completed.
- Concrete slabs were poured to hold the 3-D targets in the outdoor range.
- A large concrete slab was poured in front of the indoor range for easier accessibility.
- Another holding tank was buried near the indoor range to accommodate the new restrooms.
- A 40 addition was added to the north end of the indoor range to accommodate a 30 yard indoor shooting distance.
- A double wide door was added toward the north end of the indoor range as an exit for large events such as the Annual Steak Feed and Chili Feed.
- 410 ton of Class 5 gravel was added to the parking lot.
- The Allis Chalmers was sold and a Dixie Chopper lawn mower was purchased.
- The lights in the parking lot were put in working order.
- Another addition to the indoor range was made to store 3-D league targets, tables and chairs for various indoor events.
- The barbeque area next to the indoor range was enclosed with a fence to protect men grilling in that ourside area.
- A sidewalk was added to connect the indoor range to the walk in gate for the outside park.
- 80 Siouxland Cottonwood trees were planted along the north side of the entire park.
- Additional Class 5 gravel was added to the parking lot.
- Peatrock was placed over fabric along the parking lot sidewalk and the fence and peatrock was added to two lanes in the 3-D course to see if it would work as a good surface in the tree-covered lanes.
- The pond was expanded and 26,500 cubic yards of clay were removed. About 80% was used to put our the fire in the land fill north of the park with the balance used to improve the railroad crossing. Master construction removed 80% of the clay and the balance was moved by Excavatinging, Inc.
- After the clay was removed the two contractors widened and groomed the diches on Sandhills Ave.
- 5.5 million gallons of water was pumped from the diversion into the pond.
- The parking lot, Sandhills Ave. and Archery Blvd had the surface enhanced.
- A 30 x 32 storage building was erected to replace the semi-trailers which we are currently using for storage of targets and maintenance items.
- There are about 3 1/2 miles of trails at the park. All trails were made accessible for those with handicaps. The main trail from the walk-in gate and on around the pond and over to the picnic area and practice range was made wide enough to accommodate service vehicles and if ever necessary, an ambulance. All of the shooting and walking lanes were packed, leveled and covered with some kind of surface to keep them firm.
- The playground was updated with a sand base to keep the kids out of the mud and eliminate the ever-present weeds.
- Handicapable Restrooms have been added near the Childrens playground and the main picnic area. Water is already available at both locations as well as electricity.
- Sidewalks were installed from the main gate to the shelters.
- Cattails were harvested from the pond with a combine type machine to start the pond renovation project.
- New Rhinehart 3D targets were purchased for both league and 3D Shoots.
- 2 trailers were purchased to house our targets and supplies for 3D Shoots.
- New McKenzie XT 3D targets were purchased for league and possible outdoor use in the future.
- Bow racks were added to the practice range.
- New back wall targets were purchased for the indoor range.
- A memorial will be erected to honor past active members.
- Eventually lighting will be added to the broadhead pit.
- Electricity will be supplied to the pond to run an aerator to help keep the pond water fresh.
- Pond renovation
We are encouraging members and interested groups to build bird houses for placing around the park. Birds, which live on insects, will be attracted and help to control the insect population.
Along with this work we have the on-going maintenance and grooming of the trails and general grounds. We are planning to convert the open areas to native prairie grass and make the pond an attraction to waterfowl.
Building a handicapable archery park is like building a house....one thing seems to lead to another. All the trees that have been planted led to the need or a way to cultivate them and keep the weeds under control. The park is maintained by the volunteered time of club members.
Sandhills Archery Club of Fargo is a non-profit organization developing the first handicapped accessible Archery Park in the state of North Dakota. This park will be a family oriented, multi-use facility that the entire community can enjoy. We are building a family oriented archery park, which includes picnic shelters, a walking path, playground and wildlife habitat area, pond for waterfowl and food plot for wildlife. The park has something of interest for just about everyone who visits.
Safety is always being considered at the Sandhills Archery Park. The park meets the approval of the National Field Archery Association, which also provides insurance for the park. The layout of the park has been inspected and approved for safety.
Among other things, the Sandhills Archery Club provides an opportunity to children of all ages (at no cost) to develop their archery skills, become involved in a hobby or sport, learn responsibility, and develop a respect for nature and the environment. By providing a structured activity under close adult supervision, we hope to help these children build character and grow into contributing members of society.