Nine Clallam County residents have a big bridge to build this fall.
They met Monday in the first of several meetings set to iron out differences between Robin Hill Farm Park disc golf course proponents and park users opposing the project, including horseback riders, bikers and hikers.
"There are three proponents for the course, three people who are against the current proposal and three who have not chosen a side that make up this group," said Bruce Giddens, a Clallam County Parks Department supervisor. "Their goal is to come to a consensus on some recommendation for a compromise to alleviate conflict by way of revising or improving on the original proposal."
The county parks department proposed the 18-hole disc golf course to the parks board last year and formed a course plan that the board and county commissioners allowed in the park’s master plan earlier in 2008.
The course is not a done deal. There is no slated construction. However, the parks department does plan on placing the course in the park, which is why it wants the community to approve of the project.
In a June public informational meeting, many horseback riders and other park users vehemently opposed the course’s creation in Robin Hill Farm Park, saying it could interrupt the park’s serenity, among other concerns.
Course proponents also attended the meeting, asking for room in the park and for an opportunity to mix their sport with other park activities.
"We will be providing a lot of background information to this committee, including a copy of the deed to the land, the park’s master plan, a site plan for the course and the complete proposal for the course," Giddens said, indicating public comments also would be reviewed. "We hope that they come out with a recommendation by mid-October, that we can take it and create a plan that will be better accepted by some of the current users."
Until a recommendation comes from the committee, Parks staff has information online at www.clallam.net/CountyParks that covers many concerns and staff responses and includes a site evaluation of other parks that was created before Robin Hill was deemed the best site for the course.
Robin Hill Farm Park is centrally located between Sequim and Port Angeles just north of U.S. Highway 101. It has 3.5 miles of foot trails and 2.5 miles of equestrian trails that go through 195 acres of forest and meadowland.
The original disc golf course proposal included 18 holes that started in the southwestern part of the park near the Dryke Road access point and looped to the meadow and back. The complete layout is available online.
Clallam County Parks staff gathered comments against a proposed disc golf course and put them into a spreadsheet with staff responses online at www.clallam.net/CountyParks, some of which include:
• Former owner did not want course – staff indicated Robert McCool was delighted to see many different uses planned for the site, which include a regular golf course, camping areas and tennis and basketball courts.
• Park should go unchanged – staff said the park was purchased for multiple uses and recreational activities and that it was not meant to become a preserve or refuge.
• Other parks should be considered – A complete analysis of other parks’ suitability for a course is available online.
• Course will disturb serenity – laughing, talking and discs landing in metal basket are the only new noises under proposal. Shooting range adjacent to park has much more of an impact.
• Injuries could result form discs – staff said every attempt will be made to have buffers between different uses and trails so conflicts will have less chance of arising.
• Restrooms needed – Current park is too underutilized for restrooms, which is why additional uses are being considered. A portable toilet will be installed with a permanent facility to come with additional park usage.