Likely Candidate for re-election as President of the SDGA
Report on Camp Sekani, People’s Park and recent positive decisions by the Park Department and Sekani Tournament announcement.
May 18th 2011
I was playing hole #1 at High Bridge when Taylor Bressler called, (The City of Spokane Park Operations Manager) and my contact with the City for the last 2 years. He asked me how it was going generally and I told him about all the progress we’ve made at High Bridge. I told him that we’d been able to put in new Tee Signs, Kiosk’s, Tee Pads and Next Tee signs plus the fact that I’d raised a good deal of money through sponsorships. Then he asked me quite a few questions about the status of People’s Park. He also asked about my recent report that the temporary baskets had been vandalized (as per Kevin Sakus’s report to me). According to Kevin, most of the baskets were damaged.
I said that people are anxious to get into Camp Sekani. He said, “Are they really?” I responded that, “It’s a dream.” I told him that I’d taken David Feldberg there and that he thought it was an awesome place for Disc Golf.
Taylor said, “What if it never happens?” – meaning what if the Tribe never allows us to go into People’s Park? I said, “People really want to get into camp Sekani.”
He also asked about what people think about the design possibilities. I said that we haven’t thought about it much because the Park Operations guy said we couldn’t…” He said, “That’s me…” I told him I was joking and I said, “I know…”
Then he dropped the bomb. He swore me to secrecy and said he wanted me to come up with a proposal and design for Sekani. I was floored! I couldn’t tell anybody. I had to say something, so I said yes to his request. I decided to do it because I knew that it might get us in there sooner. Besides, anything I came up with would have to be approved anyway.
So, I agreed to come up with a design for the place and report back to him. What he didn’t know was that I have a hobby of doing this. It started when I submitted an entry in the (failed) design contest for Downriver in 2009. After that I created a design for People’s Park. Next I worked out one for Liberty Park – a 9-hole dual Tee Pad type of thing. Later I toyed with a design for Underhill Park, and then created a 27 hole course for Plantis Ferry in combination with Myrtle Point.
I was guessing that he was interested in just what might be possible for Sekani. I asked him if I could tell someone that has designed courses about what he said and He said, “No.” It was abundantly clear that he didn’t want me to say anything to anyone.
I couldn’t help but wonder if my conversations with the County Park Department the day before and my investigations into the various County parks (see report on this in the future) were a contributing factor in putting pressure on Taylor to make a move…. It’s likely there’s some connection since these guys all know each other.
I called Taylor Bressler again because I was hoping to be able to talk to Mike Aho more about the specifics of the possible layout. When I asked if I could talk to Mike about this he flatly said, “No, just make a proposal and we’ll go over it.
June 7th 2011
I spoke with Taylor again and told him that I was getting closer to a 27 hole design for Sekani. I said that we could use Buckets and that I didn’t feel that they would be as subject to vandalism as they have been in People’s Park. So far I’ve spent about 17 hours and I’m getting pretty familiar with the landscape. I’m committing it to memory so that I can contemplate it in my head and on paper.
July 1st 2011
I had a meeting today with Taylor Bressler and Mike Aho. I got there on time but Taylor didn’t arrive for about 10 minutes. He told me that Mike Aho wasn’t going to make it. I gave him my 11 page proposal and the 11” x 17” map of the 27 hole course that I’d developed at Camp Sekani. He saw all of this and said, “This is all preliminary…” I said I knew that and I couldn’t do anything permanent on my own anyway. Several times throughout the proposal I stated that it would all have to be approved by the Board of the SDGA. He immediately started looking everything over quite intently. I said something like, “So what’s going to happen now?” He said, “Well, were probably not going to be able to do anything at People’s Park…” We’d probably have to get a permit for every hole…” He read quickly through my written proposal and then we talked about my ideas for a course. I went through every hole with him. He knew about some of the areas and didn’t seem to object to anything – well he didn’t object to anything I talked about. I talked about the boundaries and how I hadn’t seen many bikers up there at all. I also said that they had built trails that crisscrossed the whole hillside and that it would be impossible to avoid there trails in any design.
It’s my opinion that the mountain bikers would need to be told that a certain area is dedicated to Disc Golf and that they would ride in it at their own risk but probably should just avoid it altogether.
Taylor said that he wanted to meet again after the 4th of July. I told him I would be back from vacation on the 10th.
I mentioned that I would have to walk the course with Mike Aho and Taylor agreed.
I asked Taylor if he would communicate with my board about the plans that we’ve made and he said, “We haven’t done anything illegal!” I suggested that perhaps he could come to one of our meetings or write something to the SDGA. He said, “I’m not going to get into that…”
He did say that they (anyone who’s interested) could call him.
I called Taylor and tried to get some kind of an update. I also had to tell him about the proposed way of doing People’s Park that Jon came up with. He seemed to perk up and seemed interested. I reminded him that I had said several times that we could do everything above ground.
I asked if he still wanted to keep my plans, proposals and investigations at Camp Sekani a secret and he said, “Yes, we don’t’ want to start a panic!” I replied, “Yeah, it probably would…”
He said that he hadn’t met with Mike Aho about the proposal yet. I said that Jon Verbarg would be contacting him about the ‘slab’ idea. I called Jon after this and told him that Taylor would be expecting his call about this. I gave him Taylor’s number and he said he’d get in touch with him.
I asked if there was any movement on the Sekani thing. He said that he’s been talking to Mike Aho about it and that Mike told him that Sekani is in the Master Plan for Beacon Hill. I assumed that Taylor knew this already or I would have told him myself. What a surprise!
I also asked him if there was any movement on People’s Park. I asked if Jon Verbarg had contacted him about his above ground solution for that site. He didn’t know that name and asked for his number. I gave him the contact information. He didn’t know if Jon had called him or not (- I think basically - because he doesn’t answer every call, and is very busy)
Could it possibly be that because Taylor didn’t (apparently) know that Disc Golf was in the Beacon Hill – Camp Sekani Master Plan that he was hesitant to let us establish Disc Golf there? I still think that they wanted us in People’s first anyway. Just funny that he would say such a thing. After all he’s the Big Cheese and has probably seen the Master Plan. Yet, there is only one page and a small oval with the words Frisbee Golf written in it - some 50 pages into the plan. I happened upon it in 2009 after a tip from City Councilman Bob Apple - and that started this whole process. It’s unbelievable but it seems that all this time he didn’t know we were actually in the Plan until Mike said something about it.
He said that he’ll ask Leroy ‘point blank’ this week about People’s at upcoming meeting, and then know more about where we stand on Sekani.
August 29th 2011
I called Taylor today to follow up on our conversation. He said, “What’s up?” I said that I was just following up on our conversation about People’s Park. I reminded him that he had said that he was going to ask Leroy ‘point blank’ what’s going on with People’s. Taylor said that Leroy hadn’t heard back from the Tribe. He said that People’s probably wasn’t going to happen however he needed to check with Leroy once more to be sure that we could get the go-ahead for Sekani. I asked if I could say anything about it to anyone and he said, “No,” At the end of the conversation we agreed to talk again in a week or so that he could give me a another report from Leroy.
October 1st 2011
I called Mike Aho. I said Taylor said he was going to ask Leroy Eiede ‘point blank’ if People’s Park was going to happen or not. Mike said that he’d heard that People’s Park is ‘pretty much dead. I made an appointment with Mike to go over and refine any boundaries and other issues that Sekani has going forward. We made the appointment for Friday October 14th at noon.
October 14th 2011
Today I met with Mike Aho to go over the 27 hole proposal that I’d made for Taylor. I wanted to clarify the exact boundaries for the area. In my proposal I had ‘stretched’ the boundaries to see what would fly in the final definitions of our area in Sekani. As it turned out the eastern border where I had put a potential 7-800ft par 5 going down a gully would not be allowed as Mike considered it to be encroaching on the Mountain Bikers area. So, that boundary is set. On the southern border of the course is Upriver Drive. Originally in 2009 Mike told me that we could go over as far as the Kiosk. In my design I extended this area from the 850ft where the Kiosk is located to about 1050ft down across from the western edge of Boulder Beach. This gives us one place where we can have a great view of the river. Mike was okay with this area being included in our course. The western border is a long telephone line that ascends the hill past our northern boundary which is the ‘road’ or emergency access trail that goes east – west across our upper boundary. We have to stay on the telephone line or to the east of it. The other side is private property. There fortunately is no fence. The area to the NW of the Meadow is where they are seeking a grant to put in a fenced Archery Range. This could possibly happen in about 2 years.
Concerning my design Mike said , “I think overall it’s lookin’ good, just a couple of little issues.
So far, I’ve spent over 50 hours on the property I’ve enjoyed all of the time there. I explored, mapped, tested and memorized all of the 100 acres of this park. I searched for the areas that were the most essential for Disc Golf to use and the most prominent features of the land to include in my proposal. I’ve also been studying John Houk’s writings on disc golf course design. There are also 27 strong Bucket targets that accompany my proposal.
So, now I have the final word on the actual boundaries and areas that would need to be out of bounds. Mike gave me the key to the building that’s near the Caretaker’s house. He said that we could use it for storage. I went inside and looked around. It’s already pretty full with all kinds of recreation equipment like Life Guard stands, 25ft roles of tarp-like material on spools, etc. which would probably have to moved out before we could use it for anything.
At the end of our walk-around Mike offered to give Taylor a call and check on the status of the parks in question. I specifically asked him to talk about the above-ground solution for People’s Park. I could hear Mike describing the slabs to him.
Mike to Taylor
“Okay, alright I’ll talk to him about that.”
Mike to me
“He said that the 300-400lb thing… what he’s worried about is people taking it and putting it in the river.”
- I said, “These things are about 600 pounds.”
“So, heavy…he said, ya know that it might work…but what he said at the end of that call was “I prefer that it happens at Sekani.”
- “Oh, he did…”
- “If you guys wanna persue it then it’s back on your shoulders and the Disc Golfers shoulders. Where do you guys want it – one or the other…”
- I said, “Oh, we’re gonna have to pick.
- “You’re not gonna get both – yeah, ‘cause your gonna have to finish one – he laughs, Yeah, you may be able to build here and then 4 or 5 years from now go back to People’s and say, “let’s do it at People’s now”.
- I said, “If it was put to the people in the club – they’d probably rather be over here I’m thinkin…”
- That’s kind of how he left that conversation…”
- “Yeah, he’d rather see it out here at Sekani.” Yeah, that’s a change in his tune…”
- I said, “It is…”
“And so I’ve never heard him say that before, I wasn’t going to press him on it – okay, okay I think so too… But that puts in on your guy’s shoulders, so it takes it off of us and say you can go anywhere you want but - the challenges with People’s Park you know…”
- “People seem to think that this is a higher profile than People’s Park, and there’s nobody here in the bushes doin’ weird things.”
- “The only thing you’re going to have up here is that once in a while you’re gonna have a conflict with the Bikers..., but that could be resolved really easy…”
- “From my perspective being up here (for so many hours) I don’t think they’ll be much – unless there’s an event – then there might be some. (I had told mike previously that I’d spent many hours up here since May. I’d stopped counting after 50. That I rarely saw more that 3 to 5 Mountain Bikers on any given day). He said, “You haven’t been up here on the weekends and I said, “Oh yeah, I’ve been up here on the weekends too.”
Important Conversations with Taylor Bressler
After I talked with Mike I called Taylor to clarify what he said to Mike on the phone just minutes earlier. It sounded like he was saying that we could do People’s or Sekani but not both. I asked Taylor about this and I said that some of our board members were very interested in putting an above ground solution in at People’s Park and that we would like to do both projects if possible. I described in detail what I knew about the cement slabs that would be laid on top of the ground at People’s. I told him that they would weigh about 600lbs each. Taylor had never heard from Jon V. about this idea – he’d only heard what I briefly mentioned to him on the phone a while back. I had given Jon Taylor’s number at one time. Well, Taylor had been thinking that this above ground solution was like you see with temporary stop signs or something. You know like a triangular shaped cement block that the stop sign might be held upright with. I know that I hadn’t given him any information like that. He apparently heard ‘cement slab’ and made his own interpretation of that. I said that no, these would be about 4” thick and big enough for a Tee Pad and one would be used for anchoring the basket. Taylor thought this was possibly doable and became concerned that these slabs have rebar in them to avoid cracking and breaking apart. Since he thought that a person could grab the basket and possibly ‘snap’ the basket off or thus damage it – he suggested that the actual anchor be welded to rebar within the structure of the slab to make them one in essence so that this ‘breaking off’ would be less likely. It was then that he mentioned that he would like to have a meeting next week with us (I assume he means all of the Disc Golf Board) to discuss in detail both People’s and Sekani. He said that he would run all of this by Leroy Eiede. It appears that we are going to have to decide which project to put money in first – should they actually allow both.
Taylor said that he could do a meeting this Tuesday the 18th at 7pm
. We would meet at the City Park Operations offices on Mallon.
At this point it sounded like we are on for Sekani and that People’s Park might also be a go. It may just turn out that they have to run the ‘above ground’ idea through the tribe, and we’ll be waiting again interminably. We can clarify as much as possible at the meeting.
Meeting at Taylor’s office Tuesday Oct 18th at 7pm
Kevin, Gordy, Bob, Jon and I were there along with Taylor.
Taylor basically said that People’s Park was a no go
and that he wanted us at Camp Sekani
. He did say that he was going to talk to Leroy Eiede (The City Parks Director) and get back to us on Friday. He didn’t get back to us at all but Leroy e-mailed me on Monday Oct 24th and said that we have a “green light” for Sekani.
. I’ve (as you can see) spent a great deal of time and energy to get this area opened up. This is a victory.
Amazingly, when I took Jeremy Thorton to Sekani he basically liked most of my ideas for the course. In case you don’t know, Jeremy designed the Double Black Diamond Gold course at Farragut
, and a few other courses in the area. He also teaches Disc Golf. With his help, along with a few others who made helpful comments such as Tom Stephens and Tim Barber. Since my proposal we’ve ‘tweaked’ my ‘route’ for the 27 hole course into 2, 18 hole courses by dividing it and adding 2 on the lower and 7 on the upper. The lower course – named the ‘Jamboree’ or ‘Jam’ course
is on the lower and flatter area of the property and won’t have too much hiking to play it. At this point it’s a par 55 with one ‘signature’ ‘Heartbreak’
hole that’s par 4. This proposed course design is challenging but easier than the other course. The upper course design is not only more difficult as far as golf goes but also involves a lot more hiking. This structure will allow for varying levels of play and exertion. Prior to Halloween there will be 36 Bucket targets up on the courses.
I’ve probably put in over 70 hours of work as of October 27th. I’ve been off work for a while and blessed to have the time to devote to the project. I think that you’ll find that there’s some kick-ass golf at Sekani. Yeah, somebody could probably come up with something better, (I doubt it) but the time commitment, energy and effort are quite extreme. You would-be course designers are welcome to try. However, first I want people to check out what we’ve spent so much time to come up with. Keep in mind that this is a temporary course with 5-gallon bucket stands for targets. No chains yet... Any final design will have to be approved by the SDGA.
So, were inviting everyone to a Fund Raiser Tournament to help the SDGA eventually put a permanent course at Sekani.
This will be a celebration of the opening of this beautiful area.
We're calling it
The 1st Annual Camp Sekani Jamboree Tournament.
Sunday November 6th at 10am
$10.00 per person
. Two rounds of 18 holes
The definition of Jamboree is n. a noisy celebration.
There are no conflicts with the area calendars, courses or with the City on this date. We'll play the Jamboree course in the morning and the upper course in the afternoon
. Hopefully the weather will cooperate. Cody Miller will be running it instead of the regular SDGA ‘weekly’. More details to come. We'll also have a Bon Fire afterward and possibly some food. Look for detailed flyers on the courses.
President - SDGA