Hood River disc golf course a diamond in the rough

June 22, 2011

It's far too windy. The brush is really thick. There's poison oak everywhere.

Just a few things the regulars at Hood River's little-known disc golf course would like everyone to know.

And, although those claims are as false as Donald Trump's hairline, they weren't always so thin. The 4.5-acre, 9-hole course adjacent to the skate park was, until a few years ago, a city lot festering with underbrush, scotch broom and, yes, the malicious three-leaved devil weed commonly known as poison oak.

After several years of work, regular maintenance and numerous healthy doses of Benadryl and anti-itch cream, the course is a fairly wide-open, brush-free little hideaway tucked between Wasco Street and the interstate.

"The scotch broom was literally head high, and there was poison oak throughout the property," said Scott Baker, Hood River Parks and Recreation District. "It has been a slow but largely successful battle, and what you see today is enormously better."

In 2005 HRVPRD approached the City of Hood River, which owns the lot, about creating the park. With a strong volunteer base, donations and grant funding, they got started on clearing the lot and designing the town's first and only Frisbee golf course. Since then the district has maintained the lot, largely won the battle with noxious weeds and rearranged the course to best fit the landscape.

"Ideally we would have about an acre per hole, but for what we have, it has been pretty good," Baker said. "This year is the third layout we've tried, and I think it's the best."

Baker said the course currently has four sponsors (Full Sail, Double Mountain, Turtle Island Foods and Kayak Shed) and the district is looking for another five to be able to install permanent concrete pads at each of the nine holes.

Starting on the south side of the park, just across the street from the skate park, the course weaves back and forth through a surprisingly large space. From the outside, the course isn't visible; you wouldn't know it's there unless you knew it was there. And from the inside, other than the roaring of I-84, the relative hustle and bustle of downtown Hood River seems a world away; or at least farther than the half-mile that it is.

Upset at a reporter spoiling your secret spot? HRPRD is working on plans for a new, much larger park off Barrett Drive. The 32-acre open space is also a relatively open book, and public input is being accepted. A disc golf course is one of many features that have been suggested, and the more popular the existing course is, the chance there will be for an additional one.

E-mail ideas, comments or sponsorship inquires to parksandrec@gorge.net.

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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