02 August 2013

Parks Board to Evaluate Hummel Disc Golf Course

The advisory board of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department unanimously agreed to evaluate conditions associated with the disc golf course at Hummel Park. Following the August 1st meeting, the board indicated it would evaluate the interlocal agreement which allowed the Omaha Disc Golf Association to establish the course. Parks staff would also discuss items with a group representative.

The City of Omaha also provided $10,000 for its construction, according to comments made by a park planner.

Concerns conveyed at the meeting included: clearing of trees and other vegetation which has created barren hill-side ground obviously subject to erosion sooner or later; how trash is dealt with, since plastic bags hanging upon trees is not sufficient, so where trash receptacles might be situated in association with the course needs to be discussed; and, the extent of vegetation cleared for the course, especially along the "fairways" through the woods. There was an indication that a representative of the disc golf group would be asked to attend a board meeting to express their perspective.

Hummel Park has a recently built nature center, and hosts a summer nature camp. The removal of trees of any size and understory vegetation does not conform with the focus for this park, which based upon the summer camp is to appreciate nature. Removing trees and removing vegetation are not things beneficial to the local environmental setting.

Several members of the advisory board visited this park during their tour of Omaha parks on July 2nd. No of the people involved, indicated their perspective.

During the conversation on this matter, Brook Bench, parks director of dubious means, said that there could no longer be any spraying — apparently of herbicides — to remove vegetation. There is also a limitation that any trees removed were to be less than six inches in diameter.

A picture taken in early July 2013, indicated a newly cut-down tree which was near this limitation, though its actual extent was not known since during any bird hikes, a ruler has not been among the items carried.

Course rule signs, along with tee markers are apparently to be put in place soon, according to comments made at the afternoon meeting.

This course was initiated at least three years ago. What they "discers" wrought has always been problematic. The primary question is, when will they be done? And when will they no longer degrade the naturalistic features of this unique park. It is and will continue to be a huge mistake to impose a disc golf course within what had been a unique park setting along Ponca Creek and the hills just to the south.