Click on each archers' claim to see the Stewards' answers, then click on each Stewards' answer to read the Truth. Click a second time on either the archers' claim or the Stewards' answer to hide the corresponding text.
Unfortunately, the so-called Stewards can't seem to get their 18 acres straight. Originally, they claimed in their petition that the proposal before the City Council would "dedicate eighteen acres of the natural preservation area in the Lower Arroyo to archers and the Pasadena Roving Archers." This is false by about a factor of 2. The land designated as a full-time archery range was determined to be less than 8 acres in the Public Works Department's report to the Recreation and Parks Commission. Our own estimate of this area is slightly higher, around 9 acres, but we'll defer to the Public Works Department since we don't have access to accurate surveys of the archery range boundary. Either way, that's not 18 acres.
Called out by us and other commenters on their erroneous math, the Stewards have now upped the ante to say that their 18 acres refers to "virtually all of the west side of the Lower Aroyo [sic] from the Colorado Street Bridge to the La Loma Bridge." The problem with their latest calculation is that this area from Colorado Street to La Loma includes not only the archery range but also the considerable west side parkland outside the range devoted to all of the activities that they say will be excluded, including walking, running, dogwalking, birdwatching, and so forth. The agreement under consideration does not alter in any way the designations of land in the Lower Arroyo for archery and non-archery uses.
Almost a year ago, at the request of City Council, the Public Works Department conducted a two-week study of the usage of various parts of the Lower Arroyo west side within the area described by the self-styled Stewards as "for the exclusive use of the archers at all times." Over the duration of this survey covering more than 49 hours of observations at 15-minute intervals, the City's observers counted 525 archers inside the archery range, 1461 passive users on City-maintained trails outside the archery range, and 60 passive users intruding off-trail into the interior of the range. The obvious question here is how can "virtually all of the west side" be "for the exclusive use of the archers at all times" if 71% of the observed users were engaged in non-archery activities on legitimate west side trails outside the range?
Given that the current and proposed area for full-time archery does not occupy 18 acres — nor by any stretch does it occupy "virtually all of the west side" — is there any truth at all connecting archers to 18 acres?
Before the adoption of the LAMP in 2003, both the Northern Range and the Southern Range were devoted to full-time archery. Together these two ranges comprised about 18 acres, but even then they never included "virtually all of the west side" to the exclusion of other activities. Starting in 2003, there has been a near-total decommissioning of the old Northern Range. All permanent targets have been removed, and this area is off-limits to archers and open to general public use at all times except for 13 Sundays per year when PRA is permitted to conduct archery tournaments on only the lower half (4 to 5 acres) of the old Northern Range.
Thus, the Stewards could have said quite honestly that the archery range formerly occupied 18 acres until 2003, but currently and under the proposed agreement, the area used for archery comprises only 8 or 9 acres, except for 13 Sundays per year when this area is about 13 acres. Unfortunately for the Stewards, an honest reckoning of acreage does not support their two main false narratives that the archery range is expanding or that it would exclude other recreational users from the west side. In truth, the archery range has shrunk considerably since 2003, and there has always been plenty of room on the west side outside the range for all of the activities that the Stewards claim will be excluded.
The Southern Range is in fact used throughout the week by archers, and that is documented by the City's usage survey. Usage of the Lower Arroyo west side for archery averaged 26% of all users, peaking at 32% on Saturdays and otherwise averaging 21% on weekdays and 21% on Sundays. Saying that this range is "used primarily on Saturdays" obfuscates the fact that this is a full-time archery range open to the public and used by the public 7 days a week for archery.
Since 2003 the Northern Range has only been used by PRA for archery on a maximum of 13 Sundays per year, in accordance with the LAMP. This was a voluntary concession made by PRA to stop using the area except for a monthly tournament and one annual event. There are no permanent targets, so that area does not have archery facilities to attract archers any more than Hahamongna or Rose Bowl Area H. However, the City has never taken any action to inform the public of this change of status; there are no signs, no mention on the City's website. Non-PRA Archers who venture into this area may do so innocently, as archery was permitted there for several decades prior. Nonetheless, if such use does occur, we at PasadenaArchery.com strongly condemn it. We urge all responsible archers to inform unknowledgeable archers that they're not supposed to use that area, and to report archers to Pasadena Police if the offense continues. We challenge the so-called Stewards to issue a similar condemnation of improper use of the Southern Range by walkers, runners, dogwalkers, birdwatchers, etc., who insist on dangerously crossing archery shooting lanes in violation of posted park rules.
As a point of fact, the City's usage survey recorded zero instances of people engaging in archery outside the archery range, and it logged 60 observations of passive users on the cross-lane path inside the range. These 60 rule-breaking passive users constituted less than 4% of the 1521 total passive users, indicating that the vast majority of people walking, running, dogwalking or birdwatching on the west side complied with park rules and enjoyed their non-archery activities sensibly outside the boundaries of the range. Despite this, the Stewards argue that the City Council should adopt a park usage policy that kowtows to the 60 observed rule-breaking passive users and evicts the 525 archers who were not logged breaking the park rules throughout the City's 49 hours of observations.
The Stewards' claim that the City will be "erecting barriers along the eastern boundary of the entire range" is preposterous because the eastern boundary is where all of the legitimate access points to the range are located, providing archers safe access from the park's hiking trails to the starting positions in the range's 28 shooting lanes. The only new natural barriers recommended by the City will be located to prevent pedestrians from taking a shortcut, further west toward the hillside, that crosses between targets and shooting positions. The Stewards apparently don't realize that the primary "dangers inherent in this sport" are caused by pedestrians carelessly or intentionally walking between archers and targets.
"Barren trail" and "dusty path" are buzzwords intended to provoke a reaction. All of the paths in the Arroyo are "dusty," as is the area in front of the targets where the Stewards yearn to walk. The City's usage survey revealed that a majority of passive users already use the "barren trail" (61%), and a somewhat smaller number prefer the "dusty path" (35%). Only a tiny minority of passive users walk through the archery range (4%), and some of them do so on purpose in order to provoke a confrontation with the archers or to establish dubious squatting rights in the eyes of allies like the Stewards.
But their elitist solution is to evict the archers and restrict "the best habitat zone in the Arroyo" to only non-archers like themselves. Never mind that the sport of field archery was expressly invented to give archers the challenge of shooting in a natural woodland setting, and that field archery therefore is designed to have low impact on the natural habitat because the sport's very concept depends on preserving it. Never mind that there's no other place in Pasadena where field archers are even permitted to practice their sport. And never mind that "the best habitat zone in the Arroyo" is more likely the bird sanctuary or the Memorial Grove on the other side of the channel.
This assertion is absurd on its face. Any and all members of the public can use the archery range during all open park hours. On Saturdays, they can participate in the classes, on Sundays they can participate in the tournaments, and the rest of the week they can practice archery. The issue is not who can use it, but what they can use it for.
In its deal with the City, the PRA is required to keep all of its events open to the public. How is this any different in principle from the City's deal with American Golf Corporation (the concessionaire that manages the operations of Brookside Golf) requiring that they keep the two Brookside golf courses open to the public and not turn them into a private country club? Where is the Stewards' outrage that a for-profit corporation has "exclusive use" of more than 200 acres of Pasadena's public parkland in the Central Arroyo? In their convoluted reasoning, just because members of the public can use the public golf courses does not make golfing at Brookside a public use!
During this period there has also been an increased demand by archers to enjoy their own designated space on the western side of the Lower Arroyo. But, to the exclusionary Stewards, archers don't count as members of the public. So it's necessary to evict them despite a 79-year history of archers coexisting peaceably with other recreational users of the Lower Arroyo's west side parkland.
The City tries to manage its public parklands sensibly so as to accommodate a wide variety of recreational interests by all members of the public. When the City determines that one type of recreational activity might interfere with another user's opportunity to enjoy their own equally valid activity, the City's solution is to designate separate areas for each activity while ensuring that no particular activity is hogging more than a fair share of citywide public space.
Pasadena's Municipal Code requires that activities be confined to their defined activity areas. Archers can only engage in archery at the Lower Arroyo archery range, and nowhere else in the City is archery permitted. The people from the Casting Club can enjoy their hobby at the Lower Arroyo casting pond, but they're not allowed to practice their casting in the natural stream area below the bridge. Golfers have their public courses at Brookside, and they're prohibited from playing golf outside a designated golf course. The list of examples could go on and on.
There are City-posted signs at the the archery range that say "Stay on trails" and "Do not walk between shooting positions and targets." These signs cite PMC 3.24 as the basis for these rules. All members of the general public "have been able to enjoy the western side of the Lower Arroyo" if they stay on City-designated trails outside the archery range. And all members of the public have had the opportunity to enjoy the archery range for archery. The new agreement proposed to the Council would not alter access to any part of the Lower Arroyo except to require that archers carry certification.
The primary reason why there is less than one-third the amount of park space per capita is that the City has not added parkland at the same rate as the population has grown. That's basic math. Pasadena's population in the 1910 census was 30,291. The 2010 census reported that the City's population had grown to 137,122, representing a 100-year increase by a factor of 4.5. So if the Stewards' "Fact" is accurate that the park space per capita has only fallen by a factor of 3 (a claim not fact-checked by us), that would imply that Pasadena has actually increased its parkland acreage by around 50% during the same time period. That achievement would seem quite commendable, given that Pasadena's land area is fixed and its population has kept growing.
The self-christened "Stewards of Public Land" need to concede that the beleaguered City servants at the Public Works Department and in City government have been doing a fine job for 100 years acting as the true stewards of Pasadena's public parklands, balancing the preservation of natural space with the recreational interests of all members of the public. The public archery range in the Lower Arroyo has been a part of Pasadena's parkland heritage for 79 years, and past City governments have never had a problem creating sensible rules to balance the archers' needs with those of other users. Now is not the time for present-day City government to reverse this longstanding stewardship by kowtowing to the demands drummed up by this small group.
As we stated in response to another Stewards' "Fact," the sport of field archery is designed to have low impact on the natural habitat because the sport's very concept depends on preserving it so the archers can shoot in a natural woodland setting. For the entire time that the Lower Arroyo has been designated by Pasadena as a natural preservation area, the City has recognized that field archery is exactly the type of low-impact use that belongs in this area and not in a more developed area like the Central Arroyo.
The Lower Arroyo was designated as a natural preservation area in 1990, at which time the field archery range had already been established there for 55 years, and it was accepted as a low-impact use at the time this historic designation was made. The Arroyo Seco Public Lands Ordinance (1990) explicitly lists archery among the "low intensity recreational activities within defined activity areas, including hiking, horseback riding, archery, casting, picnicking and jogging," that are appropriate for this natural preservation area. In fact, this ordinance's explicit inclusion of archery on an equal basis with hiking and jogging completely contradicts the Stewards' unfounded assertions that archery is "an active recreational activity that is inconsistent with a natural preservation area" and that archery is "unlike" walking or jogging in this respect. The City ordinance that established this natural preservation area says exactly the opposite.
Preserving native habitat on the expansive hillside lots has been pretty easy because the lower sections adjacent to the archery range are too distant from the residences on top of the hill to be subject to Pasadena's annual brush clearance requirements. Property owners can and do let their hillsides grow wild, confident that their homes are a safe distance away from any brushfire threat. At the September 2013 City Council meeting, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Delgado said that the "errant arrows" he examined looked like they had languished in brush for decades. Some property owners realize that a few "errant arrows" found in distant hillside brush don't threaten their homes on top of the hill any more than the uncleared brush itself. In fact, most of the "errant arrows" presented by some neighboring homeowners at various City meetings appeared to be broken or otherwise unflyable, suggesting a minor littering issue rather than a safety problem. The total number of such arrows, discarded or shot, found on neighboring properties has apparently averaged only about one or two per year over several decades, a rate that pales in comparison to the daily or weekly rate at which errant golf balls escape the upper reaches of Brookside and potentially threaten joggers on adjacent trails. Yet the selectively safety-conscious Stewards do not clamor to insure the safety of joggers by shutting down the golf course!
We don't "deny that not all archers follow the rules." However, PRA has no enforcement ability; they are not police officers, and in most cases, the range rules have not carried the force of law. That's something the new agreement addresses, which should help to ensure safety. We at PasadenaArchery.com strongly condemn violations of park rules by archers, and we urge our supporters to speak up about any infractions they observe, and to report archers to the Pasadena Police if they fail to comply.
By singling out alleged violations by archers, the Stewards conveniently overlook that not all park users follow the rules. The City's usage survey logged 61 cases of unleashed dogs and 60 cases of non-archers intruding inside the archery range, but zero cases of archers breaking posted park rules. The archery range still has a perfect safety record, despite the best efforts of some people to put themselves in harm's way by walking between archers and targets in defiance of common sense as well as the posted rules.
We recognize that the neighborhood Stewards similarly have no law enforcement power over members of their own community who insist on breaking the posted rules by walking through the archery range. But we challenge the Stewards to post on their website a condemnation of these City-documented violations by passive users — and please make this condemnation at least as strong as their condemnation of alleged but undocumented violations of park rules by archers.
When all else fails, the Stewards keep resorting to their myth that the archery proposal before the City Council will be "expanding the exclusive use of the western Lower Arroyo." The Pasadena Roving Archers have not asked for any expansion of the range, and no such expansion is found in any of the deal points painstakingly put together by Public Works Department staff in December 2013 and again in February 2014. (Warning: the linked documents are a tedious slog to read all the way through, but at least we've told you where to look if you want to do you own fact-checking.)
Even though the expansion myth is easily disproved, the Stewards count on this myth to make their dubious assertion of public support. The widespread "opposition to expanding the exclusive use of the western Lower Arroyo" is in fact merely opposition to their mythical strawman and not to the agreement being proposed to the Council.
We challenge the so-called Stewards to contact all of their petition signers, to provide them with a link to PasadenaArchery.com so they can read both sides of the archery issue, and to offer them a chance to retract their petition or augment their remarks based on what they find out. How many of their petition signers would be left if the numerous "walkers, bird-watchers, joggers, school children, nature-lovers and just plain residents" who signed it find out that the proposal coming before the Council would preserve exactly the status quo land use arrangement that they've been happy to enjoy for the past many decades?
As we stated in response to a previous Stewards' "Fact," the archers are not a "tiny minority of the people who love the Arroyo" and use it for recreational purposes. As documented by the City's usage survey, archers constituted 26% of observed recreational users during the period of the survey. This is a significant percentage of users, not a "tiny minority." On the other hand, it's also not a dominant percentage of users, which dispels the equally pervasive myth asserted by the Stewards that the archers have been preventing the enjoyment of the Lower Arroyo west side by non-archers.
Yes, let's end the name-calling. The Stewards can start by no longer referring to the archers as "a private group," "a special interest group," and other such inaccurate terms intended to vilify them.
While the so-called Stewards have strived to evict the archers from their place in the Lower Arroyo, the archers have always welcomed and thrived alongside the presence of other users in their adjacent activity areas. Civility must start with acceptance of coexistence. There's plenty of room in the Lower Arroyo for all of the low-impact recreational activities, including archery, listed explicitly in the City ordinance that established the natural preservation area. The archers eagerly look forward to joining the Stewards in issuing a call for peaceful coexistence among all Lower Arroyo recreational users while obeying sensible park rules established by the City.
This is true. And most archers were among the many supporters of the City and the Arroyo Seco Foundation in pursuing this restoration. However, now that the Lower Arroyo has become a nice place, it seems that the archers are no longer good enough for it in the eyes of the Stewards.
Archers have not trampled on or removed trees or shrubs. The City planted them where they are when it installed irrigation in the restoration projects mentioned by the Stewards. The incident with the rodent poison was an unfortunate and ill-considered action by one person, who was reprimanded for it, and the poison was removed as soon as it was discovered. The "barren islands" were not created by the archers; they are the last few spots showing what the entire area used to look like. Paradoxically, these are the same "barren islands" that the Stewards insist must become an open hiking trail inside the range for all to enjoy their barrenness.
No matter how many times the Stewards float this claim, it still will not be true. The archers have not expanded their facilities since the day they got a permit to create the field range in 1935. There are photographs, including aerial photography, and City documents to prove it. This assertion is plain and simply false.
At the September 2013 City Council meeting, the agenda report included a map originally drawn in 1989 showing the layouts of the Northern Range and Southern Range at that time. This same map was attached to operating agreements between PRA and the City from 1989 to 2003, indicating that the City believed there was no substantial change in the archery range area or layout over those 14 years. At the 2003 adoption of the LAMP, PRA made a voluntary concession to stop using the Northern Range except for a monthly tournament and one annual event on its lower 14 targets. Aerial photos confirm that from 2003 until now there have been no substantial changes in the Southern Range's 28 targets, that the lower half of the Northern Range still has visible shooting lanes but no permanent targets, and that evidence of archery has pretty much disappeared from the upper half of the Northern Range. Thus, by the City's own documentation, there has been no substantial change in the Southern Range for at least the past 25 years, and a near-total decommissioning of the Northern Range for the past 11 years. That most definitely does not constitute an "expansion" of archery facilities.
Any "near-misses" on the archery range are the fault of pedestrians walking across shooting lanes, ignoring or defying posted rules. These people would never consider walking through a football or soccer field while players were practicing. Archery is a sport, and sports require practice, which requires a dedicated practice space.
As stated in our response to a previous Stewards' "Fact," PRA has no law enforcement power but tries its best to educate archers on safe and legal practices at the range. The new requirement by the City for certification of all users of the range will enhance the ability of PRA to provide this important public education. The City establishes the park rules, the Pasadena Police enforce them, and all responsible users should call out scofflaws and report them to the police if they don't discontinue their offense.
Archery is not dangerous to the public, as the range's 79-year perfect safety record attests. But archery requires its own space, just like golf, for example. Approximately 155,000 rounds of golf are shot annually at Brookside with minimal risk to golfers on the golf course or to pedestrians on the adjacent Rose Bowl loop. Similarly, more than 100,000 arrows are shot annually at the Lower Arroyo Archery Range with minimal risk to archers and to pedestrians who stay outside the range. Both the City and PRA are taking necessary and reasonable steps to manage and minimize risks to anyone's safety at the archery range.
PRA has carried insurance for several years, and it's not minimal. In addition, every certified instructor (and PRA instructors are all certified) carries personal liability insurance coverage through USA Archery and/or the National Field Archery Association.