After several months of no news on reopening Black Mouse Disc Golf Course, we recently posted not once but twice on the same day. And now more to share.
The same day that I spoke to the head of district operations and learned of the septic project just going out to bid, I received a call from the superintendent. He said he wanted me to know he wasn’t avoiding me, just busy with end-of-year stuff. He promised to call a week later, but called early, the day after graduation.
He said they were informed by their arborists that those trees had to come down as they posed a safety risk; having played the course plenty since we built it 20 years ago, I’ve seen plenty of downed trees- a couple almost as they happened. He said they plan to go in there and clean up but have another pressing issue.
The best bid they received to replace the turf at the Quail Hollow site came in way high, according to the super, so they need to use their own staff to do the work. After that, they plan to clear the recent tree falls. That will hopefully happen while the septic project is being undertaken.
I know it’s frustrating and even nerve-wracking waiting and hoping for the Return of the Mouse. My personal perspective is one of optimism. As long as I am not hearing No, my assumption is Yes.
The previous paragraph aside, this blog’s purpose is to ensure you all know what I know as I interact with school district officials. In other words, straight news. The proper forum for sharing opinions and making decisions is an official club meeting, and as president I suggest we schedule one soon. All in favor?
We should be closer to a reopening of Black Mouse than we were at the time of the last update, 1.5 months ago. However, nothing has changed in terms of the remaining hurdles to be cleared. Hurdle 1 (the main one that is out of our control) is the completion and state approval of a septic/leach field project that is in the same area as the course.
I checked in with the superintendent a couple days ago, and here is his reply:
I replied asking if we could use this lag time to begin evaluating an additional site he mentioned as a possibility for a new course in Boulder Creek. I’ve been cautious about taking this approach as I don’t want them thinking we’ll settle for this course instead of restoring Black Mouse, but I don’t think this is an issue now. When I hear back, I’ll be sure to share.
In the meantime, hang in there, and please continue to respect the school rules. Thanks for your support!
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.
Black Mouse Disc Golf Course remains closed, but the jury (in this case the SLV Unified School District) is still out as to its ultimate fate. In my latest exchange with the soon-to-be-retired Superintendent, she states that the septic/leachfield renovation that involves part of the course will continue until at least the end of the year, and the board does not plan to address the status of the course until after that time.
My response was to respectfully suggest that we could be using the time that class is not in session (the summer, now) to work on a mutually agreeable reopening plan. I also hinted that we may start to present our petition for reopening through the press.
I then sent them the 327 testimonials received through this site (as of 6/08/21), along with a few that I hope will catch their attention- including one from a person whose home borders the course! Thanks to everyone who took the time to submit something.
I am including the last exchange mentioned above as the rest of this post. Please contact me directly with any questions.
Jack- I am returning your email in regards to the reinstatement of the Disc Golf Course on the SLV tri-campus. As you know, district facilities are prioritized based on student needs and student usage. The SLV Board is waiting until the repairs to the tri-campus septic system and leach field are complete before they are prepared to discuss the Disc Golf Course. The board’s priority is to provide appropriate school facilities for all students before they address the recreational needs or areas of the school grounds. The repair to the leach field and septic system have an estimated completion date of the end of Nov. or Dec. 2021. However, as in all construction projects related to the public schools, the district waits through the Ca.Dept. State Architect’s (DSA) approval process during various phases of the project, so the timelines are somewhat unpredictable. The Superintendent’s Administrative Assistant will notify you when the item is on the Board Agenda. Best regards- Laurie
Dr. Laurie Bruton, SLVUSD Superintendent
Dr. Bruton, Thank you for taking time to keep me informed. I’m happy to at least have something to share with all who come to me for news. If I had any leverage I’d push back a little on the logic that the septic work needs to be done before discussions can begin, and add that it seems like working on a plan now, while school is not in session, makes the most sense regardless of when the course might be able to reopen. As a parent of two students at the school I am sensitive to everything the SLVUSD board is juggling right now and accordingly have taken a patient, passive approach in advocating for reinstating the course. Knowing that it may be another six months or more before the matter is even discussed, though, we may need to try a bit more of the ‘squeaky wheel’ approach. I will start by sharing testimonials with the board shortly, but will likely eventually share our situation with local media as well, just to keep the issue active in the community’s collective mind. I am confident that we (the local disc golf community) can commit to steps that will more than satisfy the board that reopening Black Mouse is the right decision- and fund the costs of those steps. All we need is a bit of time together to work it out. Can you please send me the name and contact info of the superintendent’s admin you mentioned so I can check in from time to time? Wishing you nothing but the best with your next adventure, Jack Trageser
Dr. Bruton, As promised I’m attaching a PDF with 320-plus testimonials regarding Black Mouse (I cc’d Ms. Berquist as well). I can come discuss the issue with any board member at her/his convenience. I’ve pasted a few below that jumped out at me- particularly one submitted by a neighbor whose property borders the course. Virginia Justus, Boulder Creek- “My 12 year old son and his friends have recently got into disc golf. He and his friends are middle schoolers in the SLVUSD. It is a great way to get kids out and away from screens, having fun in the fresh air with friends.” Brian, Felton- “This course brings healthy exercise, time in nature, great memories with friends, and a place to gather with community. I think it is incredible the youth were involved with planting the course. We miss this course dearly.” Alaina Maloney, Felton- “Black Mouse is 1 mile from home. Its a beautiful and friendly course. It allows me to connect with nature & our community while also spending quality time in nature playing a sport i have loved for 25 years. Pls keep our small home town course in play. It’s brings us together. Keeps us Santa Cruz mtn strong.” Lawrence M. Valle, Ben Lomond- “This course was so lovely when it was open to play. Takes less than a few minutes to travel to on hwy9, and the whole family can have a good time. My kids love the hiking, natural obstacles. Please bring Black Mouse Back!” Robert Green, Brookdale- “I helped run the disc golf club for SLV High school as well as nature academy at the Middle School. It was one of the best things in life to help encourage individual students to better their game. We helped teach proper respect and grow character through failures and success of the game. Ive seen these kida grow into fine young adults who still enjoy the game. Please bring back the Mouse for the sake of the kids. Its a almost free 365 days a year sport . Valuable to any community but especially to our isolated valley with not alot of things for our kids to do.” Jesse Schmidt, Felton- “It is an activity for all with a very low entry-level cost. That means people of all income levels can enjoy it. Of the courses in the area it is by far my favorite.” Patrick Salibi, 7292 Hacienda Way, Felton- “I’ve always found the disc golf community to be respectful of the school grounds, as well as the neighboring community. I live in the house on Hacienda that is arguably most affected by the increased parking from disc golfers and have no issue with seeing this course reinstated.” Moana Whipple, Felton, CA- “Black Mouse is a gem of a course. It is short enough that my husband and I can bring our daughter to hike with us through the course, and we love every inch of it. Black Mouse teaches the novice player the essential desperation of trees, brings awareness to the existence of poison oak, and humbles anyone who thinks a putter surely cannot roll so very far. It would be devastating to lose such a beautiful and creative course forever.” All the best, Jack Trageser