Next Club Meeting, The State of the Course, Next Steps Forward
The course opened just before the Thanksgiving break, as planned. It took place without announcement or fanfare to minimize any unforeseen negative impact, but as expected word spread quickly anyway.
The positives were enormous and plentiful, and the negatives (I’ll get to them shortly) few and mostly minor.
I’ve run into and heard from sooo many people who are thrilled to have the Mouse back, most pledging to help us make sure disc golf in SLV survives and thrives. Hearing the stories and seeing the happy faces has been incredibly gratifying.
On the down side,
Some cars are still parking in the wrong place, but that should get better as word spreads and the school remembers to keep the middle school gate closed.
Believe it or not, despite all the signs we’re still finding trash on the course, including beer bottles
Some players took it upon themselves to modify the course. That just can’t happen. The club and only the club, in conjunction with the district, makes those decisions.
All in all, though, disc golfers have represented themselves and the sport well since the course reopened. Now we’ll see how we do with school back in session. Moving forward . . .
The storms have already created new damage in multiple places around the course. Work will need to be done, and equipment replaced. This will be addressed at the next meeting, on Wednesday January 25th at 6 PM at Redwood Pizza in Felton. We’ll schedule work days and other maintenance and discuss possible events in 2023.
SLVDGC Meeting Oct. 20 at 6 PM at Redwood Pizza in Felton
The Mouse is . . . (drumroll, please) . . . . . . coming back! Lets those tears of joy flow.
I know I’ve been saying this for two years, but until now it’s been more of an optimistic mantra. A way to speak it into being. But now it’s way more concrete.
On a scheduled call with the powers that be this morning, I was informed that the wastewater treatment project adjacent to the course is complete enough that we can begin taking the steps that will lead to our beloved Black Mouse being once again open for play.
Here is a quick summary of those steps:
Signage- We committed to funding and installing signage to be placed in strategic areas to remind disc golfers that all school property rules be strictly observed. Thanks to a quick and generous response to a GoFundMe campaign, we already have money for this
Clearing, etc- We’ve already done most of this, but thanks to the felling of some large Doug Fir trees from the hole 9 area down to holes 1 and 2, there is more to do. We also need to move the tee for hole 10 as previously mentioned here. These tasks are not a requirement for reopening but rather to restore the course as closely as possible to the way it was, with at least 18 playable holes
There is one new requirement. The district is asking that we obtain liability insurance. The cost should not be prohibitive.
We’ve scheduled a club meeting for next Thursday, October 20th at 6 pm at Redwood Pizza in Felton to create a plan to accomplish these final tasks so we can get our baskets back in the ground and the course reopened for play.
I also need to remind everyone of the actual rules we’ll have to follow: No play during hours, no smoking of any kind, no alcohol, and no littering. If we don’t take this seriously, Mouse 2.0 will be short-lived. They made that clear once again on the call. If you can’t follow these rules to the letter at all times while on school grounds (including parking areas, of course), please, please, PLEASE just play somewhere else.
The district believes in the value of the course but faces strong opposition from the NIMBY neighbors- the same neighbors who enjoy filming disc golfers, hoping to capture incriminating evidence.
If you can’t make it to the meeting next week, stay tuned for news of work days and an official reopening date. Thanks everyone for your support and patience.
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!
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