Archers and bow hunters in the Pikes Peak region got a new playground last week when Cheyenne Mountain State Park opened a long-awaited archery range.

The range, located along Colorado Highway 115 and Pine Oaks Road, is south of the main entrance to the state park. It's the first public archery range locally that's not located on a military base.

Park manager Mitch Martin said the range was built at the request of bow hunting groups, who at times have been unable to access the other large range - at the Air Force Academy - because of heightened security. Construction of the range was delayed for several years by a redesign of the highway intersection.

The range, which requires a $7 per-vehicle state park pass to use, consists of a covered shooting area and eight targets with backstops, ranging from 10 yards to 80 yards.

But that's only the beginning. Martin said a youth archery range, limited to bows with 35 pounds or less draw weights, will be completed shortly. Within the next month, the first of 28 targets - including several 3-dimensional animal targets - will be in place along a mile of trail.

"It kind of breaks up the monotony of just shooting here," Martin said. "It also provides for a more real-life hunting experience. You may be hiking a trail and you come across a target animal."

An extra $3 permit is needed to use the trail targets. The money collected from the permits will help recoup the construction costs, Martin said.