Stakes mark a new disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park. The Steamboat Area Disc Golf League is requesting hole sponsors during a yearlong trial period for the course.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Stakes mark a new disc golf course at Rita Valentine Park. The Steamboat Area Disc Golf League is requesting hole sponsors during a yearlong trial period for the course.

Disc golf opens at Rita Valentine Park in Steamboat

Some nearby residents upset about use of open space for new course



Learn more about the Steamboat Area Disc Golf League, which created the map of the new disc golf course, online at http://steamboat

— A local disc golf group is promoting a new course at Rita Valentine Park where some nearby residents have long fought to preserve open space and prevent large-scale changes to the natural setting.

The Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission gave initial approval to a disc golf course at the 35-acre park between Anglers Drive and Hill­top Parkway in July 2009 as part of conceptual designs for the park’s long-term use. Chris Wilson, director of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Rec­reational Services Depart­ment, said plans for the course solidified during two public meetings of the commission and a hole-by-hole walk-through of the 18-hole course.

The Steamboat Area Disc Golf League states on its website that the Fox Creek Disc Golf Course now is open to the public “with bamboo poles where future baskets will be.”

Wilson said the course is open for a one-year trial period. He said he and the commission worked with a group Wilson called the Rita Valentine Park Coalition and “had good attendance from the neighbors throughout the process.” But Wilson acknowledged that the disc golf course also spurred debate and public opposition, including recent phone calls he received from at least two residents of subdivisions near the park.

“I wouldn’t say we got resounding support,” Wilson said about the process leading to the disc golf course. “I think the group, though … understood the park and recreation commission’s recommendation.”

Wilson said the Steamboat disc golf league would be responsible for maintenance of the park, including trash removal. The league also has some fundraising to do — its website is requesting “18 lifetime hole sponsors” at a cost of $750 each, as part of a cost that could reach $10,000.

A year ago, the Parks and Rec­­reation Commission also supported additional trails, a dog park and a buffer zone between park activity and residents. That support drew anger from some residents last year who argued that the park already had plenty of uses in its relatively untouched state.

“Many of us in that area find a way to use that beautiful park,” Mary Ann Cutter said at the time. “I’m amazed about what kind of activity there is throughout the day. I don’t want any of you to think there’s nothing going on there.”

Wilson noted that the Res­­ponsible Dog Ownership Group of Steamboat has worked toward an approved voice- and leash-control program for dogs at Rita Valentine Park. Leash laws and dog parks are on the Steam­­boat Springs City Council agenda Aug. 3.

“It’s been a very busy park property,” Wilson said.

Other park news

Chris Wilson, director of the city’s Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services Department, said plans are moving forward to create a public bathroom at Little Toots Park, on the Yampa River Core Trail next to Bud Werner Memorial Library on the west side of downtown Steamboat Springs. Wilson said his department has received $21,000 in grant funding from Great Outdoors Colorado that, pending final approval, will be paired with $11,000 approved by the Steamboat Springs City Council as a supplemental budget appropriation.

Wilson said he is working with city officials and Ed Becker, of Mountain Architecture Design Group, on plans for the bathroom, which would be installed on the garden level of the building used by the Yampa Valley Land Trust.

City Councilman Walter Magill has long lobbied for a public bathroom at Little Toots, where more than one council member has admitted allowing his or her children to relieve themselves on the grass in a secluded area because young children sometimes can’t make it to the library in time. Magill also consistently lobbies for improvements to bathrooms at Howelsen Hill.


tom bedell 6 years, 9 months ago

I think time will tell that this is a very bad move by our parks and rec department. The land involved isn't just the Rita Valentine parcel but also the fox creek parcel which is an area of undeveloped open space rich with wildlife and flowers and fauna not to mention a migratory corridor for deer, elk and moose. A frisbee golf course is going to result in almost every square inch of this habitat getting trampled! Aside from the obvious adverse effects on the environment the course creates safety issues for other users and none of the parking issues have been addressed. When the idea of developing this open space was first proposed it was met with strong opposition. This past May the proposal for a frisbee golf park was submitted and passed by our parks and rec. committee without any of the original groups who opposed development even knowing about it! If you research frisbee golf course design, coursed are almost always built in developed parks. I could not find one example of a frisbee golf course being built in a pristine wildlife habitat. I walked this area on Thursday evening with a DOW wildlife biologist and they were surprised that the course was built so close to fox creek and the surrounding wet lands with so little concern given to environmental impacts. It's been very dissappointing trying to get the city to cease development until more people could be made aware and environmental impact studies could be done. I realize this land belongs to us all and my vision may not be shared by all citizens of Steamboat but I personally am gravely dissappointed by the shortsightedness and lack of concern for the environmentby our city representatives.


greenwash 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree, Whose in charge here ? C. Wilson and C.Robinson have reached a point in their careers where its time to move on....Find some new blood. 20+ years as a park worker?PLEEEASE how hard is it? Its really a rart time seasonal gig anyway. Council should step up and clean house.Lower salaries and improve morale all at the same time.You could get rid of both these guys and not notice.Let Earnie and crew stay on and call it good.

By setting up this disc golf course without consulting the neighbors shows how little respect they have for the people that pay their salaries.


Luster Vickrey 6 years, 9 months ago

Ever since the Curci-Turner property came on the scene there have been repeated attempts by individuals or groups that wanted that property for their own use. In every case the request was turned down by city council thus leaving the property in it's natural state. In every case the meeting room was packed with citizens supporting leaving the property in it's natural state. Recently a study was conducted that focused on alternative uses for this property. Again, the study was turned down by council. And, again, the meeting room was packed by supporters of the park. So, why does Chris Wilson and Parks and Rec. Committe members ignore the council vote? Why do they ignore past history? Why don't they listen to the citizens? I sincerely hope that city council gets involved is this breach of community trust. This property serves a variety of needs in it's present state. It doesn't need to be broken up to satisfy a few Frisbee players. There were numerous mistakes in this article but, will save them for a later date.


jk 6 years, 9 months ago

Oh brother get some use out of that land for petes sake!! I'm sure the deer, elk, and moose can find their way! Stop being selfish!!!


Amy Harris 6 years, 9 months ago

It's just the old NIMBY syndrome. The fact is that those neighbors do not own that land and it's not there just for their private enjoyment. It is a public park and we should be encouraging people to use it.

There is a dirt singletrack path literally a few feet from my house, and I love seeing people riding bikes or walking on it. Instead of feeling irritated and territorial that people are near "my" space, I am happy that they are taking advantage of a community asset.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 9 months ago

Really think there will be enough people playing frisbee golf to have parking issues and harmfully trampled ground?

And the impacts of all the nearby houses certainly prevent it from reasonably being classified as a "pristine wildlife" area.


boater1 6 years, 9 months ago

"god forbid a bunch of working class guys are playing frisbee in MY back yard. i only want to see my wealthy snob neighbors walking around back there."

the land owners in the area have always fought to keep anyone off that public land. screw them! they want the open land for themself without paying taxes for owning it. every arguement coming from them is BS in my opinion. that land is already heavily used in the summer. discusting wealthy people who expect those same guys to move their snow in the winter & cut their lawns in the summer, but i don't want to have to see you otherwise.

our town needs more things like this and less people like the ones who live there! good for the group & parks and rec making it happen.


exduffer 6 years, 9 months ago

Do you suppose that one of the complainers is the same lady who a few years back called the cops when a bear was eating all the bird seed out of the wash tub on her deck.


Ron Pannesi 6 years, 9 months ago

I would like to talk about what we know: 1 - The land: the land involved only partially uses the Rita Valentine property. It also uses a parcel referred to as M & H. Having said that, Holes 1,2,3,17,18 utilize a total of roughly 1/2 an acre and they are laid out on the perimeter to have no conflict with other users of Rita Valentines 10 acres. This constitutes 1/20 of the Rita Property - Hardly ever square inch. The M & H Parcel contains 35 acres. The remaining 13 holes are the smallest on the course and total approximately 2 1/2 acres of the 35. Again, hardly every square inch. 2. Safety concerns: This course has been designed in a way that if there is a trail crossing, the players on the course have over 200' in all directions to see traffic and avoid it. The courses at the ski area play over hiking and biking trails numerous times and were designed in the same fashion. There have been NO incidents or conflicts in the history of Disc Golf at the ski area - a place where traffic is much heavier. 3. Parking: at Park and Rec meetings (heavily attended by Rita Valentine Neighborhood coalition) a count of the number of players and vehicles potentially playing the course over the course of the day made this number insignificant. 4. Attendance at Park & Rec meetings: I attended all meeting concerning this development and can attest that the single largest group in attendance was the neighbors of the property . To say this process went without notification is simply untrue. 5. Pristine wildlife: Disc golf was accepted at this park because it is not an invasive activity. Of all the other things proposed the only two things approved were a dog park and a disc golf course. For the same reason - they require almost no development. 6. Examples of courses in "Pristine" property: Funny this should come up as there have been 2 courses on the Steamboat Ski Area over the past 8 years. One of them was laid out on US Forest Service property and its design had to stand up to VERY strict rules of the US Forest Service. These same rules were followed in this case. If there is a need to find other examples of Disc Courses in this environment the search will be short. For instance, the towns of Bailey and Conifer have built course on property that is much more pristine (mostly due to its lack of million dollar houses) than Rita/M&H and last week they hosted the Colorado State Championship to 186 players from 19 states and 2 countries. Many other examples exist, but if you are totally uneducated on the sport, then I will not bore you with the list of them. I encourage all reading this blog to read the facts not the rhetoric. These are just some of the facts. Thanks to Park & Rec for following the letter of the law and including ALL parties in development.


Todd Kirkpatrick 6 years, 9 months ago

ah the facts. So easy on the eyes. and to think that this is what public Park and Rec mettings are for.


Luster Vickrey 6 years, 9 months ago

RVP serves the community in various ways. And, don't forget the wild life. Frisbee Golf is a very simple sport. It can be played slmost any where. There is no law that it be played in a city park. The alternatives are endless. There is no reason that RVP and Frisbee Golf can survive-at different locations.


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