Steamboat Springs In a sense, the disc golf proponents that swarmed over the summer and fall’s planning process for Emerald Mountain Park may have wasted their time. Disc golf was never an option for the 586 acres bought in 2011 by the city thanks to conservation easements.
The city’s current lack of a course is not being ignored, however, thanks in part to the enthusiasm proponents showed in the Emerald Mountain Park discussion. Now, they’re pushing forward, and disc golf advocates presented their ideas Wednesday to the Parks and Recreation Commission. They focused their efforts on a city-owned plot on lower Emerald Mountain.
The desired spot is an L-shaped plot of land, 34 acres east of and mostly below the Blackmere trailhead, and accessible either from there or from the base of Howelsen Hill.
The Steamboat Area Disc League at one point had hopes for a location further southeast on Emerald, but the addition of bike trails there has changed things. Now, they hope to fit an 18-hole layout in between existing roads and trails, and set it all up so mountain bikers and hikers don’t have to worry about taking a disc to the face.
“You only need about an acre per hole, if you’re trying to cram it tight,” said Aryeh Copa, who helped pitch the idea to the commission. “Having 24 acres for 18 holes gives us room for flexibility, to avoid existing trails, have good layouts and gives us options.
“There are some densely wooded areas and some open areas, which provides options for different types of shots and throws.”
The group is already contemplating pushback from several fronts, including the nearby Fairview neighborhood. Hoping to alleviate those concerns, proposed plans leave a large strip of the potential land as a buffer.
They also proposed a price: about $25,000 to design and build the course. That includes expenses such as tee boxes and signage. Two upgrades in the plan were for nicer baskets that would fit in well on the slope and for two small cement pads for the baskets per hole instead of one, allowing the course to be easily switched up whenever desired.
“We would like the city to pay for it, and if they won’t, we would like to look for grant money to make the course world class,” Copa said. “Hopefully the ball gets rolling soon on that."
If or when it actually happens remains up in the air, according to Steamboat Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services staff. Howelsen Hill supervisor Craig Robinson said the next step for the group is a meeting with him to review its plan. If it’s determined that the group has indeed selected the right spot, plans can be finalized and forwarded to the Parks and Rec commission where the public will have a chance to weigh in. Then, it could potentially go to the Steamboat Springs City Council, if that group is interested enough in the project to get involved.
That’s a lot of “ifs” and “maybes,” and there are certainly plenty of opinions to be heard and considered, but one thing is clear: Even after it was left out of the Emerald Mountain Park plan, disc golf is moving forward in Steamboat Springs.
“We heard through the Emerald Mountain Park process that this is important to the community,” Robinson said. “What the city’s role moving forward will be has yet to be determined. What can the community agree on? Can the city help make this happen? If so, we want to get this project done.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9