Site is right
In the good-news, bad-news department, consider the disc-golf site in Upper Bidwell Park. The good news is that the city’s new Bidwell Park Master Management Plan seems to support the feasibility of building new, ecologically compatible courses on the site. The bad news is that the city is in a hole financially and is looking for ways to cut expenses, not add them.
Disc golf is growing in popularity. There are now more than 80 courses in California. As the long history of use of the Upper Park site demonstrates, Chico has many disc golfers. They deserve a place to play, and the current site is a good one. With the right design and proper maintenance, the sport’s impacts shouldn’t be any more harmful than those made by equestrians, hikers and mountain bicyclists.
There’s no question that the game is having troubling impacts on the site at this time. That’s because, for reasons beyond the players’ control, no maintenance is occurring and no adjustments for impacts—moving tees and pins, for example—are being made. Once the city approves and constructs the new course (or courses), that would change for the better.
Plans call for building a parking lot off Highway 32. It would serve both disc golfers and hikers seeking access to the trails on the south side of Big Chico Creek Canyon. This would be a valuable addition to the park, allowing for greater use in appropriate ways.
We also believe the city should invest in a short disc-golf course in town somewhere. The current site is too far away for youngsters. Having an in-town course would also relieve pressure on the Upper Park site.
As mentioned, money is an issue. Members of the disc-golf community have expressed a willingness to partner with the city in providing maintenance and ongoing support of new courses. We hope the city can find a way to accommodate them.