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Westchester Lagoon Disc Golf Course Will Reopen For The Winter Beginning Friday October 26

The Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department will reopen the disc golf course at Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park for winter use on Friday, October 26th.  Commonly known as Westchester Lagoon, the course was closed for the summer to repair areas that were damaged from heavy course use. The course has been rehabilitated with topsoil and grass seed. 

“Anchorage’s recent cold snap has triggered the seasonal opening of the course,” said John Rodda, the Anchorage Parks & Recreation Director.  “Consistent freezing temperatures in the last couple of weeks have hardened the park’s terrain which will protect the revegetation efforts from increased foot traffic.”

This summer’s rehabilitation efforts followed a collaborative decision last spring to close the disc golf course and prescriptively open it for winter use.  “We are trying to balance the growing popularity of this activity with complaints about the poor condition of the park near the course, trail conflicts and deteriorating park atmosphere,” said Rodda.  As a result, Parks and Recreation composed a Community Advisory Group (CAG) to propose solutions to resolve conflicts and improve park conditions. The CAG reached the following compromise:

  • Beginning in the fall of 2012, the course will become a winter only course except for permitted events and tournaments
  • The course will be made available for permitted events and tournaments beginning the summer of 2013

To accommodate for the loss of this popular summer recreational activity at Westchester Lagoon, collaboration continued with intent to find appropriate places for more disc golf courses within the Municipal park system.  The department launched a disc golf site selection and management study this fall with input from an advisory group consisting of local disc golfers, neighbors of Westchester Lagoon, Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff.  The advisory group has had four meetings in the past three months and is developing a baseline document.

"The closure of the Westchester Disc Golf Course earlier this summer was a momentary shock and a down moment for Anchorage,” said Geoffrey Wright, Advisory Group member. “But Parks and Recreation has managed to channel the energy generated by the closure to form an active citizen’s advisory group.  This group represents a broad range of perspectives, but is united in its goal to develop a solid disc golf course selection criteria and management strategy.  With these in hand we're hoping to expand disc golf options in Anchorage and to give the community more opportunities to enjoy our amazing parks."

Results from this collaborative study will assist Parks and Recreation with tools to successfully integrate disc golf within the Municipal park system. 

Community parks like Westchester Lagoon have a range of recreational activities that compete for space and resources.  Conflicts can arise and result in a negative park and trail experience for citizens.   “Westchester Lagoon is a popular year round destination that was on the verge of being loved to death,” said Mayor Dan Sullivan.  “I am happy that the group has demonstrated an effort to find a positive solution for disc golf in Anchorage.

For more information about the disc golf site selection and management study, please visit the project web site:

http://www.muni.org/Departments/parks/Pages/AnchorageDiscGolfSiteSelectionandManagementStudy.aspx

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