New archery range at Cuivre River State Park is one step closer to completion thanks to union volunteers

Troy, MO. — A major multi-phase recreation expansion project at Missouri’s popular Cuivre River State Park is one step closer to completion thanks to teamwork between the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA), several local unions, and a handful of nearby businesses .

Teams of union apprentices and instructors from International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 513 and Operative Cement Masons and Plasterers International Association (OPCMIA) Local 527 recently completed earthmoving and leveling work for a new field of archery in the park.

“This is something we’ve always wanted to expand on,” says Jason Harrison, Cuivre River State Park Superintendent.

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 513 was on site for four weeks moving earth, grading, compacting, backfilling and providing heavy equipment expertise.

Located near the St. Louis and St. Charles metropolitan areas, the park receives many visitors from those communities who come to be a part of nature, he explains.

“One of the missions of the state park system is to increase recreational opportunities for our clientele,” he says, “and one of those is the archery program that we offer to various groups. We have used a temporary Kevlar backdrop for the program in the past, so a state-of-the-art archery range is a natural fit for the park.”

When completed in July, the range will include five Americans with Disabilities Act compliant shooting lanes with protected targets progressing from 10 to 50 yards, and an elevated shooting platform with its own set of targets. Wheelchair-accessible sidewalks from the ADA-compliant parking lot will connect the shooting stations and targets, while another concrete path will extend to the platform that includes a lower ADA-compliant shooting lane.

“All of the work that has been done, and will be done in the coming weeks, has been donated entirely by a labor force of union volunteers as part of the US Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) program.” says Sam Phipps, US Conservation Programs Manager. “It is our flagship program that uses union members who volunteer their time and business skills to, among other things, improve public access to the outdoors.”

For two weeks, OPCMIA Local 527 trainees built forms, placed wire mesh reinforcement, and poured concrete for the sidewalks and piling for the elevated tower.

IUOE Local 513 apprenticeship instructors James Gibson and Joe Wallace, along with seven union apprentice members, spent four weeks moving earth, grading, compacting, backfilling and supporting the cement masons. Overall, the equipment operators donated 400 labor hours (valued at over $20,000) to the project.

“Many of our union members are also outdoorsmen,” says Gibson, “so a project like this allows them to do something for the community that they are also passionate about. It also benefits our apprenticeship program, I think, because it teaches young union members that it’s important to be active in their communities while providing valuable on-the-job training with a real instructor present.”

Over two weeks, Scott Downs, apprenticeship instructor for OPCMIA Local 527, had 20 cement mason apprentices build forms and place wire mesh reinforcement and pour concrete for the sidewalks and piling for the elevated tower.

The Cuivre River Archery Range project involves the joint efforts of many local unions, companies and friends of work.

OPCMIA International General President Kevin Sexton and Vice President Alise Martiny were on hand for the final pour, as were a group of students from Troy Buchanan High School who came to help out and receive hands-on training.

“They and their teachers stepped in to help my apprentices,” says Downs, “and at the same time they were exposed to the trade of concrete mason.”

Ryan Meyers is the Career Coach for the Lincoln County School District and says that Troy Buchanan High School has 250 students enrolled in its Construction Trades Program. As a comprehensive project each year, students in the program build a house from the ground up to interior finish and then put it on the market.

“We had 25 students on site on the archery range project, helping the trainees pour and finish the concrete,” he says. “It was a great hands-on experience for our sons, and I think this partnership with Concrete Masons will continue for some time to come.”

OPCMIA International donated all the concrete for the project and both its General President and Vice President were impressed with the result.

“Congratulations to Scott Downs for accepting this project,” says General President Kevin Sexton. “It takes a lot of effort to plan and coordinate something like this, where the union gives back to the community while also providing a training platform for the future workforce. Getting high school students involved was also a wonderful thing.”

“This was such a successful project,” adds Vice President Alise Martiny. “From the Missouri State Park System to the citizens of Troy, apprenticeship programs, and students who worked on the job, we all won. The volunteers did an amazing job making sure everything was covered, and that’s what unions and organized workers are all about. We like to work for and with the community.”

In all, according to Downs, Local 527 volunteers donated 1,000 hours of work, valued at $55,000.

Behind the scenes, other local unions and companies have contributed heavily to the project so far, according to Sam Phipps.

“Magruder Limestone Co. was kind enough to donate 690 tons of screens used for backfill,” he says, “while Millstone Weber donated 80 tons of rock.”

Iron Workers Local 396 donated all of the wire concrete reinforcing mesh, as well as the rebar cages for the platform piers, he adds, as well as materials and making arrow quivers for all the shooting stations. Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 donated materials and built bow hangers for the firing stations, while Painters and Allied Trades International Union District 59 covered the cost of painting the hangers and quivers.

Work on the project will be completed in July when volunteers from Carpenters Local 32 and Roofers and Waterproofers Local 2 build the shooting platform and shooting shelters.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to unions whose members hunt, fish, shoot, and volunteer their skills for conservation. America is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Ground Work Boots (WBG): WBG is America’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise for conservation projects that enhance and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, they restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the great outdoors. The US Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide the labor needed to complete critical projects that might otherwise go undone.