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Disc golf proposal sent to special committee

While the Clallam County Parks Department is backing a proposal to install an 18-hole disc golf course in Robin Hill Farm Park, its staff wants to make sure potential new users will not conflict with current users.

Parks staff is in the process of contacting people who have given comment in favor of and against the proposal to create a committee to review the proposal and find a way to make both activities coexist.

“While we get this group formed, we have extended the deadline for the public to submit comments on the proposal,” said parks and fair supervisor Bruce Giddens. “Initially the deadline for comments was July 11, but we have extended that through the end of the month.”

Parks department staff plans on updating their page on the county Web site to make the proposal available for those unable to attend past public meetings, the last of which gathered more than 80 citizens.

“The new feature on the page will give current news for parks, public comments and questions we’ve received and our responses to those concerns, and a means to provide additional comment on this and other future department activities,” Giddens said of the site, which is located at www.clallam.net/CountyParks.

If approved by the Clallam County hearing examiner, the disc golf course proposal would place 18 holes into the south and central wooded areas of the park and through a section of the eastern meadow, taking up nearly 20 acres of the 195-acre park. In order to make room for the disc golf course, parks staff proposed extending an equestrian trail three-quarters of a mile.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf but thin Frisbees are used rather than balls and baskets instead of holes.

The parks department staff’s expectation of the committee is that members will iron out their differences and share the park, which was originally designated as a mixed use and active, rather than passive, park. Parks staff said all county parks were reviewed and Robin Hill Farm Park was chosen due to its size, proximity to Sequim and Port Angeles and that it is under-utilized.

The opposition was mostly from current park users, horseback riders, walkers and bicyclists. Their arguments at the June 25 public meeting included that Robin Hill Farm Park was the wrong location, that a sporting activity would negatively affect the serenity of the park and concerns about horseback rider safety and the people the course would attract. Some park volunteers who help keep the park clean said they would be unwilling to work in the disc golf course due to their opposition.

Proponents included local people who enjoy the sport, people looking for youth activities, people wanting to learn the game and people from outside the county looking for a new course. Several mentioned the etiquette of the game, a start-up-cost as low as $10 for players and said serenity would remain in the park. They say they have volunteers to keep the course clean and the county plans to replace a portable toilet in that section of the park.

Giddens said a time line for the committee’s formation and how often it would meet will be available soon.

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