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Black Mouse Update 11-27-21

We seem to be in a hurry-up-and-wait stage of Black Mouse’s triumphant comeback. The school board may not let us on the course to do cleanup work much less put the baskets back in until the new year (I’m working on it), but there is still some news and progress to report.

The GoFundMe campaign was a huge success! To those who contributed, thank you! We raised nearly double the requested $1,650, all of which will eventually go toward course signage, improvements, and then upkeep. If you didn’t get a chance to donate this time, there will be plenty of future opportunities.

It took some red tape-cutting, but at the request of the district I updated the Google listing of Black Mouse (ignore the permanently closed notation) so the address is the address of the high school and not the middle school. This will hopefully result in people who Google directions to the course parking at the high school rather than the middle school, which is one of our big issues. I’ve also added some details about school rules, and will fine-tune further when we’re ready to reopen.

We created a new Facebook group that will be the primary FB page for communicating about Black Mouse and other SLV disc golf matters once the time comes. Go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/slvdiscgolfclub to join the group.

I think that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more news, and thanks for your support! —–JackT

Black Mouse Update 10-4-21

Close to 30 people showed up for the first meeting of the embryonic SLV Disc Golf Club, and numerous others indicated they had a conflict that evening but planned to be active members of the club. A great start!

The next meeting will Wednesday, October 13th at 6 pm, once again at Redwood Pizza in Felton.

At the first meeting I reported that all of the baskets have been confirmed to be in storage on the SLV campus (my inventory count was complicated by the haphazard way in which they were stored). That’s good news as the superintendent had told me he thought someone might have picked up some of them, claiming ownership.

By a simple show of hands we elected our initial club officers: Myself as president, Jeff Duvernois as VP, and Doug O’Dell as Treasurer. We have a good person lined up for secretary and will make it official at the next meeting.

We discussed all the things the SLVDGC might be, from a corporation with non-profit status to the host organization of sanctioned events and fundraiser for the schools and other local charities. The possibilities are exciting, for sure, but our first objective (our sole objective until it is achieved) is to see Black Mouse restored and open for play.

To that end, we’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money required to pay for the following:

  • Signage that clearly states school ground rules and the cost for violating those rules
  • Locks to secure the baskets to the basket sleeves, as the original locks were cut when the course was closed
  • Several sleeves that were damaged or torn out when the course was removed
  • One new basket

Once we’ve achieved our baseline goal of restoring and reopening the course, we’ll look at a club membership structure that makes the most sense, and explore additional goals. For now, though, we’ll keep our eyes on the prize and check the boxes that enable us to all enjoy Black Mouse once again. Stay tuned!

Black Mouse Update 9-17-21

Hello, Black Mouse Faithful. Now that life on the SLVHS tri-campus has settled into a routine it’s time for us to put our plan to restore Black Mouse Disc Golf Course into motion.

As mentioned in my previous post, Step 1 is to form a club, with a board of directors and club officers. To that end, I’m scheduling a meeting where we can get that particular ball – or disc, if you like – rolling.

save black mouse

Our first gathering will be Wednesday, September 29th at 6 PM at Redwood Pizza in Felton. Weather permitting we will meet outside on the back patio.

The agenda will include the formation of the club, the steps we need to take to get Black Mouse reopened, and the things we will need to do (and not do) to keep the course open.

If you get a chance, let me know if you plan to make it, and if you can’t make it but definitely plan to be a part of the club. Thanks,

JackT

Black Mouse Update 7-29-21

We’re one big step closer as I now have a verbal agreement to reopen Black Mouse. I spoke to SLVUSD superintendent Chris Schiermeyer earlier this week, and these are the two main takeaways from our discussion:

  1. After sharing the steps and conditions he and I had agreed upon with the other members of the SLVUSD board of directors, they all felt comfortable reopening the course assuming the steps are taken and the conditions not violated. The details of our proposal, which were favorably commented on on the Black Mouse FB page) were detailed in my last update.
  2. The water treatment project, which is ongoing and involves the leach fields near the course, requires state approval. The process may not be completed for another six months, and the course can’t open until that happens.

The first condition, and the next step for those who want to help make this happen, is to form the San Lorenzo Valley Disc Golf Club. After that we can get to work on the other steps required to get the course back open. If you want to help launch the club (or just join the club), please complete this short form.

A couple other tidbits to share: Del P. suggested the possibility of relocating the holes closest to the aggrieved neighbors to the area where holes 5-9 were initially located- behind current hole 5, along the road that goes deeper into Fall Creek. We’ll be looking into this possibility as it could accomplish two things- moving play further from residential properties and getting people to park in the elementary and high school lots rather than along the road to the middle school lot.

Finally, I can’t share details yet, but we identified another possible location for another course down the line. Stay tuned!

Black Mouse Update 7-14-21

Greetings, Mouse-ka-disc-eers!

I met with with new SLVUSD superintendent Chris Schiermeyer on Tuesday, July 13th, and came away feeling very encouraged and optimistic that we can forge a path to reopening Black Mouse. It’ll take some work and a sincere commitment to abide by all school rules, but I think it can be done.

I’ve listed a summary of the salient information Chris shared in brief bullet points, followed by what we would need to do, and what comes next.

  • To start on a positive note, Chris said more than once that there is not one single board member who is firmly opposed to reopening the course. He also said he is aware of how many local families use and highly value the course, including several key district employees.
  • The main reason the course has remained closed without discussion for the past six months has been work on the wastewater treatment system. Nitrogen levels are not within state regulations, and they need to redo the ponds and work on the leach fields. He also said they have a plan that once approved by the state should not take long to execute and complete.
  • There are indeed homeowners who live near Black Mouse determined to permanently close the course, and these people have supplied district officials with pictures and video that clearly show disc golfers violating the rules that prohibit smoking, alcohol, drug use, and use of the course during school hours.
  • The main reason the district would consider closing the course permanently is the drain on their resources; specifically administrators having to listen to and respond to complaints about disc golfers, and maintenance staff having to clean up trash and even feces(?!) left by disc golfers who park along the entrance road to the middle school parking lot.
  • I want to emphasize this point: Chris said most complaints involve people parking where they shouldn’t, outside the middle school gate, and loitering loudly before and after rounds, then leaving garbage there.
  • Someone retrieved “4 or 5” baskets claiming he paid for them himself. Does anyone know who this might be?

After Chris shared his list of issues and concerns about Black Mouse I presented some possible solutions. He liked all of them and even suggested one himself. The total list is as follows:

  1. Form a more official club, with a board of directors, officers, regular meetings, and a charter than includes the primary objectives of providing recreational disc golf opportunities in the SLV areas and maintaining a good relationship with the school district. This club would be the official link between the district and the disc golf community, and would be ultimately responsible for ensuring all disc golfers obey school ground rules.
  2. Change all online course listings. We need to make sure all rules are clearly stated in all course directory listings (or have the course removed from all listings), and make sure everything possible is done to deter players from parking in the wrong places.
  3. Create and install clear, unavoidable signage placed throughout the course that make the rules clear, as well as the fact that the district, school, and club all insist upon their strict adherence. Also, we need to fund the signage ourselves.
  4. Create a volunteer schedule to occasionally patrol the course and pick up trash at the end of weekends so school maintenance staff doesn’t show up Monday to a mess made (presumably) by disc golfers. This one was Chris’s suggestion. Hopefully we can change this disgusting practice by visitors; if we don’t, the course will be closed again soon after reopening anyway. But we should be willing to monitor the situation closely and clean up if necessary.
  5. Perhaps most importantly, those of us considered to be Black Mouse locals or regulars need to set the example in following all rules, and politely but firmly remind anyone we see that it’s either follow the rules or the course gets closed. This doesn’t mean “being discreet.” It means No Smoking, No Drugs, No Alcohol, No Playing During School Hours, and No Parking by the Middle School. Period.

This is the path to reopening Black Mouse.

I agreed to let the Superintendent know if the disc golf community agrees to these conditions, after which he would work to get a similar commitment from the board of directors.

So that’s where we’re at. I’d like to hear from y’all. What do you think? Can we do this?