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City OKs disc golf course design

A proposed disc golf course is one step closer to becoming a reality at McCormick Park in St. Helens after the St. Helens City Council approved a design for the course Feb. 6.

Disc golf, a sport with rules similar to golf, uses small Frisbee-like discs that players throw at targets — metal baskets that function as “holes.” The city-approved design places the course in the western portion of McCormick park, beyond Milton Creek, away from the primary recreation areas including the playground, camping areas and fitness trail.

The group behind the beginner- to intermediate-level course still needs to raise money to fund the construction of the tee pads and baskets, but one organizer, Logan Miller, who presented the designs to the council, said fundraising is “coming along swimmingly and slowly, a little bit.”

The rest of the work, such as clearing brush along fairways, will be completed by volunteers, he said.

The nature of disc golf course construction means that the group doesn’t need to have all the money upfront, Miller said. The majority of the spending will come at the end and, meanwhile, there is plenty of work that can be done ahead of time.

The course and preliminary 18-hole design came to the council highly recommended by the city’s Parks Commission, which sees the course as a low-impact, low-cost way to draw people into the park.

The course is designed to avoid areas with seasonal flooding issues and to avoid interference with existing walking paths.

In response to questions from city councilors, Miller said volunteers will manage the upkeep of the course and Park staff will only be responsible for clearing out garbage.

Miller says the group, which includes a mix of both local and Portland-area disc golfers, plans to begin organizing work parties at the end of the month and hopes to have full funding in place by late May. They have estimated the course will cost approximately $14,860 to construct. Many members of the group have had experience designing and constructing other disc golf courses in the Pacific Northwest.

Currently, Columbia County residents have only two nearby disc golf course options: the challenging Trojan Park course, which requires tricky over-the-water throws, and the smaller Yankton course, located on property owned by Yankton Community Fellowship in St. Helens.

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