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  • Sudden Valley Resident Perspective


    I am a Sudden Valley Resident. I've owned here for several years. I also frequent Mossy Roc recreationally.

    I'd like to take this opportunity to fill you guys in--from a resident perspective--and to describe some of the issues that led to the closing of Mossy Roc to non-HOA Members (the HOA is referred to SVCA, Sudden Valley Community Association).

    First of all there are liability issues. Simply put, General Management felt that without any means to assure that users of Mossy Roc would not hold the Association liable for injuries/personal damage, the only way to protect residents from financial liability was to keep non-residents off the property--it's as simple as that. Someone breaks a leg? We are potentially liable for that. That essentially means that you folks using the property could potentially cost the residents a lot of money simply by letting you use the property. I don't know about you, but I'm not really keen on the idea of paying to let other people use our property, and that liability pretty much does that. It is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt out there. It would eventually happen, and General Management knew it.

    In addition, one of the golfers was collecting money (tournament fees) from other users to use our property--this same person had been ejected from property in South Carolina for doing the same thing, essentially charging use fees for land he didn't even own.

    Second, damage to the property. This is one of the bigger issues. It has reached the level of serious vandalism, and most of this damage is a direct result of Disc Golfers. Both bathroom structures have been broken into numerous times--all the fixtures destroyed. Not a single feature of those restrooms remains functional. The reflectors for the lighting above the restroom became a default target by golfers due to their being made of aluminum--they made a nice sound when hit with a disc. They've long ago fallen off, smashed to an unrecognizable state. Pretty much all of the electrical outlets at the campsites have been destroyed and the main breaker box was entirely stolen. Picnic benches have been smashed to pieces. The bathroom buildings were heavily tagged with spray paint (the tags making it obvious that golfers were responsible for much of it).

    There are sections of the "course" that have had limbs as high as 30 feet cut off trees to clear fairways--this was done by golfers without permission. The limbs were simply tossed further into the woods. Numerous trails were cut where none existed before, randomly meandering through the woods without regard to plant-life there. The worst is the hillside directly above the parking area--a large section of the hillside is denuded as a result of people not using trails. The tee areas were striped bare and the basket areas were flattened bare by all the people searching for lost discs. People tore up picnic benches and cut logs to make benches for all the tees. There were signs nailed directly to trees by golfers indicating tee/basket locations, again, without permission.

    After General Management decided to prevent non-members from using the property, members of the association removed all of the tee benches and the "basket" posts. Someone quickly replaced them with 4x4/stovepipe posts. They were removed again. Someone put more out there. They were removed by residents. Finally, someone took a machete and hacked 1ft-wide holes in the bark of cedar trees and painted bulls-eyes on the trees to mark every "hole". The damage caused by this will be apparent for decades. Nice. Complete lack of respect for property rights, not to mention natural features. The very first tee was located directly next to the namesake feature of the campground--Mossy Roc (a cliff covered in moss and ferns)--that natural feature now has trails leading all over the top of it and at the base as a direct result of the tee location and the golfers that used it. Mossy Roc itself has been abused and remains scarred today.

    The parking lot is full of holes from all the traffic that used to be there on weekends, yet we were responsible for the cost of filling/regrading those holes. There is trash left by golfers--it remains there to this day. It isn't packed out, it is thrown into the woods as far as possible. I walked the old course one time--the trash is in parallel lines to the course starting about 30ft out. Most of it is over-grown, but it is still there. Beer bottles and cans, mostly.

    Mossy Roc has been used by hunters without permission (we residents use the campground as a park for pete's sake! Kids, dogs, etc). Now, recently, paintball teams have been using the site without permission. The whole process begins all over again.

    Can you really blame residents--the owners of Mossy Roc--for closing the place to the public? Would you want people behaving like this in your backyard? I seriously doubt it.

    All of this being said, residents are fed up, as is Management. We now have a management company doing our general management--they are not going to be giving permission to any non-members to use the property, quite simply because they do not have the authority to do so. Only the residents can do so now.

    Mossy Roc is closed to the public--please respect that.

    a Sudden Valley Resident

  • #2
    That campground laid in ruin for many many years during my 14 year tenure staying in Sudden Valley. The SVCA that you say has spent countless hours and money on the property sure as hell didn't want anything to do with it when I was there. Can't say that I believe it would be getting used now.

    Also, if you feel so strong about your convictions, use your name. There is nothing wrong with opinions but hiding behind a vale of a Sudden Valley Resident is cowardly. Be proud of your opinions of cease to have them.

    I am not saying that disc golfers didn't cause problems out there, I am sure they did. Not to the tune of destroying property, vandalizing bathrooms and the such. As for the target posts which kept getting removed, I am not surprised. The disc golf community of Bellingham has been suffering very much so without a quality course for years. They finally get one, some residents with money and connections complain and it's gone. I have never seen a lawsuit from a disc golfer for hurting themselves on any property. We assume the risks when we play, we know it could be hazardous due to terrain. That happens to be one of the things that makes playing in such a rugged and beautiful environment great.

    I bet, if these concerns (plus a fundraiser was held to grab course liability insurance which we have in Spokane for all the disc golf courses) were addressed, the course would still be there, people would still be using it and hikers, bikers and walkers could still co-exist in the same area as it happens in many, many other parks around the nation. It's a shame that the legend that is Mossy Roc is tainted with negative feedback.

    Stuart Autry
    A FORMER Sudden Valley Resident
    Avid Disc Golfer
    Human who Wishes People Would Co-Exist Without Conflict.
    "Honest work is for the downtrodden and the Polish"
    Cleveland Brown


    • #3
      SV Resident,

      Greetings and welcome to our Disc Golf forum/ Community

      I live few skips south of Bellingham and was sad when Mossy Roc closed. Never made sense to me but it is what it is. I would agree with some of your comments but disagree with some as well.

      Liability? I find this one far fetched. It seems like there is this mentality that if you get hurt on property you can sue. This was thrown at me all the time when skateboarding, but I would not win in court. I would love to meet the judge that would award someone money because they broke their leg walking on a natural hillside. How can you hold liability of a muddy hillside to the owner of the property? Doesn't a simple sign stating liability absolve you from it? Nope this is a weak excuse.

      Yes there was a golfer taking fees. Not sure if we are talking about the same person. In essence the person was taking fees for the club to buy baskets and other upgrades for the course, which I feel is fine. If the SVC wanted a cut from those fees that would make sense but that's between the club and the board. This was never expressed to the general disc golf community. If SVC got a cut would the course still be open?

      The damage is discouraging. Why is it at any park I go to there is always someone that needs to litter, destroy and tag stuff. Drives me insane. All the times I played there I never saw anyone throw at the bathrooms or at the reflector you speak of. Not sure why disc golfers would vandalize like you stated. How do you know it wasn't these hunters or paint ballers? How do you know that it was not a creative way of residents to make it seem like golfers are destroying the place to give support to boot the course? Unless there is some hard evidence I don't think it was all golfers. Yes there are some bad golfers out there but please don't lay the statement down as all golfers are glue sniffing vandals. We are quite nice and some of us drive hybrids to help the planet. Furthermore I would argue that having the course would help as it is creating security through design. If there are more people using the park then more eyes which should deter vandals.

      Yes unfortunately disc golf courses have the side effect of trails and cut trees. I would hope that a lot of this was cleared with the board before any of this was done. Probably a result of poor communication on both the board and the club. Seems like the course was more of a handshake agreement rather then anything put on paper. Good example of future clubs to make sure they thoroughly describe the plans and intentions on paper. But hey its better than stripping a hill side for houses.

      Yes this is total disrespect. If its closed its closed. Those golfers were trespassing. I can't believe someone would do that to the trees. That is a bad example of disc golfers. I wonder who thought that was a good idea? I shake my head at it.

      The campground is a park and as I recall it was pretty barren and under used before the course went in over a decade ago.( From the information that has been passed to me) The process does not start over again. Those hunters and paint ballers where using it when I was golfing there. And believe me golfers heavily deterred them from being there. Now that there is no course or golfers those groups feel that they can get away with more. I know the majority of people I played with picked up trash. So maybe now the occasional dog walker or hunter that enjoys the beer and throws it off to the side is sitting there because no golfers are picking it up.

      Park is closed and I think everyone on this forum respects that. Please understand that the examples that you provided only applies to a select few and I hope you are posting similar comments to the hunting or paint balling forums as well since they take blame too. I would not want someone to treat my backyard like that. Maybe put up a 8' chain link fence with razor wire? I plan to do that to my backyard, tired of kids using it as a shortcut or a place to play baseball.

      Hmm you probably won't even be back to this forum though to see comments.

      Quientin Sutter
      Former visitor who spent money at the local gas station and Bobs of Sudden Valley until the course closed
      Wishing people would stop littering


      • #4
        Before this goes to much further

        To everyone who feels a strong allegiance to the Mossy Roc Area in Sudden Valley

        Please be respectful of the property owners of Sudden Valley it is after all land they do own and are responsible for.

        Home owners
        The sport of Disc Golf cannot escape it players. From the brand new person who throw a disc 50 ft and in any direction to the tournament level player our sport will wander the woods "...looking for that infernal disc and then ask "where is the basket?" Trails where none existed are a side effect of the popularity of Disc Golf as a whole. Because Disc Golf is basically a free sport with little equipment just some imagination lends itself to the most casual of player The idea that all Disc Golfers are vandals is at best conjecture. I know for a fact 80% of the course creation was done or at least supervised by a local Arborist in conjunction with directives from the SVHOA in 2004-05. Unfortunately 20% of our golfers are looking to tear stuff up, cut stuff, leave their trash basically feel they are entitled to do as they please. Sadly more of a comment on society.

        Now the good news
        As a Disc Golfer I am asking for the SVHOA open the gates for one weekend and allow us to come in and clean up any messes eliminating this sticking point. WE are more then happy to repay some of the trust shown us for the short life of Disc Golf at Mossy Roc.

        Give us a chance to refurbish our sport


        • #5
          SV resident - Thanks for sharing your concerns and thoughts with us. From your post I presume that recent events with golfers/paintballers are driving you to make these comments. Your comments regarding tree destruction are a totally valid concern, and I would support you in holding accountable anyone who cut holes into trees with machettes or chopped down branches for a fairway. That being said, I would like to submit that the those in whatcom county who disc golf frequently (with the exception of any who are HOA members, of which there are a few) are aware that the course is shut down, and do not play there. I played the final day it was open to the public, and have not returned since. I do not speak for the newly reincarnated Whatcom county disc golf club, but I'm sure your comments and debate would be welcome on their facebook page, which is available for public viewing now. I would also like to add that I have no problem with you not giving your name, and respect your desire for anonymity.

          As to liability, this is something that I feel could be addressed if there was any willingness on the part of the HOA management to do so. Washington has recreational land use statutes that protect the private landowner from liability in many circumstances, reflecting the great character of Washington State as a leader in outdoor recreation.

          see RCW 4.24.210

          I would be happy to extend my professional services free of charge to work out an arrangement to reopen the land.


          • #6
            I would also like to add, that on the date that this course was closed by the HOA, disc golfers/users of this web site and other popular disc golf sites such as listed the course as closed or extinct. I would also support an offer to come clean the land of trash as described by Mr. Jubner above.


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