Bowmen’s renovation is right on target

By Peggy Spear on May 19, 2014

Diablo Bowmen_10-5-13 workparty 6_websiteAngel Yarnell was in a grocery store parking lot that hot September Sunday when she happened to look up and see smoke billowing from the slopes of Mt. Diablo.

“We didn’t think twice,” said the president of the Diablo Bowmen Archery Club. “My husband and I just threw the groceries in the car and high-tailed it up to the club.”

But they weren’t able to make it all the way up to the renowned archery range located on Oak Hill Lane, off of Morgan Territory Road. The Morgan Fire was already sweeping toward their property, and firefighters were stopping traffic on Marsh Creek Road on the way up to the mountain.

Luckily, the club’s Range Manager Bill Potts was up at the club and was able to salvage some memorabilia before he was forced to evacuate.

The fire leapt through that area of the mountain, effectively “cremating” several of the target trails, Yarnell says. The club lost three quarters of their assets, including target butts, unique 3D targets, storage units and other property — not to mention damage to the beautiful Oak and Pine trees that dotted the property. Firefighters set up a staging area at the club, and managed to save the clubhouse.

Still, when all was said and done, club losses totaled close to $70,000.

But like so many stories about the Morgan Fire, there were heroes — not only the firefighters who helped save the clubhouse and homes on Oak Hill Lane, but the club members and community members who came out week after week to help restore the archery club to its former glory.

“At first it was a clean-up effort,” Yarnell says. “We needed to see how safe the area was, to make sure that the surviving trees wouldn’t fall.” Volunteers braved biting beetles, ash, dust and other fire-related obstacles to help restore the club.

With the weekly work parties helping to clear brush and help evade erosion, the Bowman’s Club was able to put on a shoot just three months after the fire. They have continued to sponsor archery events throughout the spring and winter.

“The renovation has been wonderful,” Yarnell says. “We have made rehabilitation progress by leaps and bounds. The rapid progress was made possible through the support of our members, our sister clubs and their members, and our community. They all supported our rehabilitation through hard work, and both monetary and practical donations.”

It seemed like a long shot last fall, but in June the Bowman’s Club will host its annual Open House from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. It’s an opportunity for the public to try archery, tour the range and enjoy a hot dog lunch. For more information about the Open House or the Diablo Bowman’s Club in general, visit www.diablo-bowman.org, or call Yarnell at 925-381-4590.

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