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County moves ahead with disc golf plans

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Call it frisbee golf or call it frolf. Either way, fans of the recreation can start planning for a few rounds by this fall.

 

On Monday morning, Clallam County commissioners gave their blessing to a proposal from the Clallam County Parks board to turn 20 acres of county land adjacent to Thompson Road — less than a mile east of Sequim Bay — into a disc golf course.

 

Joel Winborn, Clallam County Parks, Fair and Facilities Department director, said construction of the course could begin as early as late summer or early fall.

 

The commissioners voiced their support for the project, though Commissioner Mike Doherty voiced his concern that the Thompson Road property, located about nine miles from the nearest population center (City of Sequim), is far for most residents to go for recreation and that county officials didn’t have a face-to-face meeting with Sequim officials to try to find property closest to city limits.

 

“I’m a disc golf proponent for sure (but) I wish we’d had more of a discussion with the City of Sequim,” Doherty said. “There also could be vandalism (there). It’ll be interesting to monitor the site.”

 

Commissioner Mike Chapman argued that Clallam County residents are used to and familiar with having to travel to get to recreation activities.

 

“Not everyone lives near a county park,” Chapman said. “This county is spread out. That’s what happens. That’s the recreational model for this county.”

 

Monday’s presentation — one that didn’t need a commissioner vote since they already had approved the parks’ operating budget, but brought to them regardless for support — puts an end to an eight-year effort to bring a disc golf course east of Port Angeles. (A disc golf course opened at Port Angeles’ Lincoln Park in 2010.)

 

Getting the course

A year after disc golf proponents brought up the idea for such a course, the Clallam County Parks board in 2007 approved to its master plan a proposal for a disc golf course at Robin Hill Park. After a lengthly public deliberation process, however, the proposal was removed from the master plan and shelved for the foreseeable future.

 

In early 2010, Winborn said, a disc golf proponent asked to see a disc golf park added back to the board’s master plan but not tied to a specific site like Robin Hill. Parks board members looked at 20 county-owned parks — 17 of them day-use — along with other properties that could host a disc golf course, including the Dungeness Recreation Area and Carrie Blake Park in Sequim, Salt Creek Recreation Area and Clallam County Fairgrounds in Port Angeles and others.

 

The problem with most, Winborn said, is that the land is either too small or development would interfere with those parks’ user groups, as it did with Robin Hill.

 

But the parks board did find a prime prospect in half of a 40-acre site adjacent to Thompson Road, just east of Sequim. The land meets requirements of a full, 18-hole disc golf course, allowing for multiple configurations and varying features for players of all levels.

 

County park officials like the disc golf proposal because the sport 1) meets the objectives of the parks board, 2) is easy enough that all ages can play, 3) is inexpensive (free), 4) is family friendly, 5) requires little maintenance by park staff, 6) is a year-round activity, 7) is a draw for tourists, 8) requires no appointments or scheduling to play, 9) allows for other use of land and 10) may add a volunteer group to the county system.

 

Clallam County acquired the Thompson Road land in 1928 as a tax foreclosure. Since then the county has sold timber off the land to Merrill & Ring (1980), shifted the land to the county road department (1987) and used the land for the spoils of a Jimmycomelately Creek restoration. In 2013, 20 of the 40 total acres was transferred to the parks department. The zoning is residential and would require a rezone to parks and recreation status.

 


The costs

The project will cost the county about $13,700. About half the cost ($7,200) would be for construction and materials for the holes (pins). Another $2,000 for concrete slab tees, $2,000 for signage and $2,500 for miscellaneous costs such as Sanicans, fuel, various materials, etc.

 

That $13,700 cost estimate is well below what the county would pay for a new tennis court ($50,000), playground ($55,000), restroom ($145,000), soccer field ($220,000), baseball field ($230,000) or skate park ($500,000), Winborn said at a public forum last October in Sequim, when the county presented the project proposal to Sequim-area citizens.

 

Winborn said a key to keeping costs down is utilizing volunteer labor to install the disc golf course equipment. To volunteer or for more information, call 417-2291 or see clallam.net/parks.

 

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