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?

Black Mouse Update: 3/18/21

Black Mouse is closed, for now.

The school district made the decision to pull the baskets out when fires caused the evacuation of the entire valley and resources were stretched thin. Since that time the district decided to undertake a project involving the same land on which the part of the course sits, so the course remained closed. And it has yet to be reopened, due in part to lingering effects of the pandemic and objections to the course’s existence from homeowners whose properties border several holes.

I last spoke with Dr. Sue Bruton, SLVUSD superintendent, two weeks ago, and she informed me that the school board will be officially discussing the fate of the course at an upcoming board meeting. It would seem that the time has come to make sure they understand how much Black Mouse means to so many people, especially residents who treasure a free source of recreation close to home.

If you want to see Black Mouse back in play, please help out by answering the call as outlined on the homepage of this website. Post a testimonial; contact Dr. Bruton (respectfully); show up at the board meeting when they discuss the course. If we all speak up, it should be an easy decision for them.