An 18-hole disc golf course in the Superior Municipal Forest is coming closer to reality after Parks and Recreation Commissioners had a chance to walk the proposed course last week.
The Commission is planning to hold a public hearing when it meets May 23 and hopes to have the details of the project worked out with the group of disc golf enthusiasts who brought the idea to the city.
"My thought was that this is an awesome layout," said Linda Cadotte, parks, recreation and forestry director.
"I understand the sport," Parks and Recreation Chairman Keith Kern said. "I understand the area. But I didn't understand where they were putting it. They laid it out perfect."
The layout would have minimal impact on the trees and shrubs, although some removals would take place, Cadotte said.
"My concern is that if we give them the green light to go out that they make sure to ask - that they go out with the crew and tag the trees, instead of just go for it, just plow your little pathways, because that can be really damaging," Commissioner Elizabeth Noren said. "There was a diamond willow that I think they wanted to get rid of. But those take a long time to grow, and I think they can play around it."
Cadotte said there is still work to be done before the Parks and Recreation Commission makes a decision to move ahead with the project. She said this week she plans to head into the forest with the city's wetland coordinator, Darianne McNamara, to determine if wetland issues in the forest would require involving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and like with any other project her department takes on, she thinks there should be a public hearing to give the community an opportunity to comment on the plan.
Cadotte said she also spoke to Tyler Masseth, a member of the group that brought the project forward, about entering a memorandum of understanding, which would delineate the responsibilities of the group and the city in developing and maintaining the course.
"I'm fully in support of this project," Kern said. "I love the fact that they've come forward ... and they're constantly coming forward and showing a partnership. It's unlike anything I've seen in the five or six years I've been here. So I really appreciate that. I would like to see it get started this year because I don't want to lose that."
Kern said he would like to see the project, tentatively planned for 2020, get started this year.
"The thing I took out of that meeting was this wasn't their first time doing this," Kern said. "They've done extensive courses. They have a lot of knowledge and background in how to do this."
The estimated cost for the city is $10,000-$20,000 with the disc golf group offering to donate up to nine of the 18 holes, Cadotte said.
Commissioner Gene Rosberg said he was impressed by discussion of having tournaments in the forest, which would provide good exposure.
Cadotte said the most impressive part of the design is that it considers wear and tear by developing a course that has multiple pin locations.
"If you look at Central Park, you've got big circles around those baskets," Cadotte said of the city's six-whole course.