, 2022-10-30 11:51:47,
Contributed Photo/Courtesy EAC Discovery Park Campus: Reader believes the proposed 18-hole disc golf course not be allowed to be installed at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus over wildlife concerns and more.
I was surprised to read the Oct. 17 Gila Herald article about an “18-hole championship disc golf course” at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus. The story had apparently been written by the club and submitted as though the course had already been approved and work was starting, but it is my understanding that it has not yet been authorized and I am hoping it is not approved there.
While I personally love throwing discs, Discovery Park is not the place to develop a course. My concerns about the proposal touch on several issues:
- The area within the circle shown in the Gila Herald story is the area called Nature’s Hideaway. This area was specifically designated for the study and appreciation of nature with several trails leading through it.
- The cottonwood grove there is part of an award-winning restoration project that received a National Wetlands Award in the early 2000s and is even highlighted on EAC’s website here. Allowing that important habitat to be trampled by those using a disc golf course would be a travesty.
- That restoration work was completed via a $182,000 grant from the Arizona Water Protection Fund with the stated purpose “to create a riparian system in a highly visible area … [that] will provide on-site riparian benefits to wildlife and the [Gila River] watershed. The project has a significant outreach and educational component that will explain the benefits of establishing riparian areas.”
- The cottonwoods there are home to a pair of Gray Hawks. It is estimated that there are fewer than 100 nesting pairs in the entire United States, and this pair has been successfully producing young. This site is especially important given the recent wildfires along the Gila River that have destroyed other nest sites.
- The Gila Herald article noted that the club would remove the weeds and underbrush but this is the habitat that supports the prey items required by the Gray Hawks and many other species that inhabit Discovery Park such as the nesting pair of Great Horned Owls that are frequently observed around the pond where EAC hosts youth educational events.
- A two-hour walk through that area on Sept. 24 yielded 60 species of birds, with a total of 140 species known to occur there.
- An April 4, 2022,…
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