Yesterday I pulled into the full parking lot of my local disc golf course, which it was really nice seeing it full as the course had recently been re-opened after going through a major redesign that drastically changed the course. I was glad that people were coming out to see the new course and its new layout and to experience it. Among some of the people there I had heard some groans and mumblings about how it had changed and that the course was harder, that it was kind of unfinished. As I heard these I wondered how many of them knew the real amount of work and labor that had been poured in by a small handful of local folks.
It is kinda like when you go climbing, it is very easy to take a lot of stuff for granted. On a simple day sport climbing how much do you ponder the work put into making trails cutting the hated switchbacks, putting up access ladders, cleaning lichen, and moss off of the walls, putting in bolts, and maintaining the hardware on the routes. There has been a ton of work put into a lot of our favorite places that we can easily take for granted.
We should take time to reflect on all of the behind the scenes work that make our play grounds great. We should approach these areas with gratitude, thankful that they exist, and thankful for the people who care for and maintain these areas. A lot of them do it anonymously, no for praise, fame, or money. They take on these endeavours out of love, love for the land, love for the community and love for the sport. If you see or know any of these people give them a thanks, or better yet a helping hand in getting the work done.
I encourage everyone to take part in some activity to give back to your favorite spots. Pouring yourself into a course or a crag give you a sense of agency, and ownership in the area, and helps to foster a much deeper appreciation for it. Most areas have local organizations that coordinate clean up or trail days, to help maintain and even improve the land. Not everyone maybe able to attend these or commit fully to such an activities so here are a few small suggestions of how you can help with the work behind the play.
-Clean Up Sticks: On wooded disc golf courses it is very common for sticks and branches to fall into the fairways every storm. If you take an opportunity during rounds to move them to side or off the holes it will help clean up the holes
-Pick-up Trash: Cleaning up trash is easy and everyone can do it. Normally we are out with pack full of discs or gear but we still have room for some trash.
-Clean up Graffiti: Some people like writing on stuff, but if you can clean it up it helps make the course just a bit bigger.
I want to end by giving a huge thanks to Chris Mahaffey and the SCDGA on all of the work they did coordinating the work on the Robert E. Miller disc golf course, and thanks to all those who put in time helping out. Also a thanks to Dave Wolfrey for complimenting one of my previous blogs in person, good to know people read it.