I was invited to participate recently in a mediated workshop regarding a proposed Frisbee golf course (also known as a Disc Course) planned to be built in the vicinity of White Salmon, Washington.  The proponents wish to add a recreational opportunity in the White Salmon area and thus increase business in the town as the “golfers” will frequent the local establishments.

The controversy for the proposal is that it will be constructed within Mamie Gaddis Nature Park, a city park that is wild, quiet, and sensitive to disturbance.

The meeting started off cordial enough with introductions and the unexpected news that a site next to Mamie Gaddis Park had the potential to become the Golf Course site.  The folks representing the Jewett Creek Streamkeepers and Mamie Gaddis Park thought a solution that all could support had been reached and the meeting was essentially over, but sadly that was not the case.

The proponents still wished to use a portion of the park for their Golf Course, and thought sincerely that the park could support three golf holes without huge negative impacts to the park.  In fact, they thought that the park should not be off limits to more intensive recreation and that it should be visited by more folks, and that restroom facilities should be made available to the public.

These viewpoints kind of threw the meeting into turmoil: pro and con…and why again is it we couldn’t hope for, plan for a golf course on the adjacent property so that Mamie Gaddis Park could remain as is?   Having a greater interest in the stewardship of Mamie Gaddis Park is wonderful, but I believe that is a different issue and should be separate from the Disc Course discussion.

Earlier in the meeting, a Disc Course expert discussed other Courses he had set up and also the principles many groups had adopted in planning for the projects.  One of the principles is: community support.  From my angle, there wasn’t full support for the White Salmon Disc Course to be placed in Mamie Gaddis Park, especially if the adjacent property works out.

Clearly, further discussions are needed, one on one, is the best outside of a meeting session.  Can compromise work here; are folks on both sides interested in compromising?

Hope for the best! ~

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