Feb 5, 2009

Science-based public input:

February 4, 2009

Dear Member of Parks & Recreation Disc Golf Working Group,

I am writing to offer my thoughts regarding the proposed Disc Golf at Leddy Park.

I have lived in Burlington for the past thirty-six years and feel very fortunate to have such beautiful parks. I have a degree in Plant and Soil Science and Environmental Studies and an ongoing interest in the environment. In the past, I worked with Warren Spinner on special projects as a volunteer and then as a contract and seasonal employee. I respect the hard work Warren does and that of Park Department employees who number a few but who have the awesome responsibility of maintaining hundreds of acres of heavily used parkland with dwindling resources. I have some idea of the pressure the Department must be under and therefore I appreciate Mr. Gross’s search for creative ideas that will bring in needed resources. Disc Golf could be a great idea but I believe the selection of Leddy Park is inappropriate for environmental reasons.

Main concerns:

  • The woodlands at Leddy are not just patches of derelict land but instead the land acts as a buffer for the lake. While I agree that the woodland is not in stellar condition now, it could be. At a time when we need to be actively restoring woodlands along the lake, I question the wisdom of establishing a Disc Golf course at Leddy that would do the opposite.
  • Disc Golf would undermine the health of the trees in this environmentally important area by damaging roots, bark and making the soil surface less permeable to water.
  • Soil compaction leads to the creation of rivulets. Rivulets caused by compaction carry undesirable runoff quickly into lakes and streams. Conversely, soils that are not compacted act as a filter, allowing pollutants to percolate down into the soil before reaching the lake.
  • At a time when we should be considering redesigning and ‘greening’ the parking lot at Leddy, a popular disc golf course could put pressure on parking at Leddy. More cars bring more pollution to a lot that is already too close to the lake.
  • DPW recently received a grant to tackle the issue of urban runoff more effectively. They are hiring a person specifically to work on this issue. I wonder if there has been inter-department communication regarding the proposed Disc Golf course at Leddy?

Other concerns.

  • Noise is a real concern for neighbors whose homes are in close proximity to the course.
  • Safety – Discs move at high speeds. Given the mixed use of the Park, I wonder if other users can be kept safe?
  • Parking - pressure on adjoining neighborhoods and commercial lots could easily become an issue. Historically, users of Leddy Park have parked in adjoining neighborhoods and commercial lots to avoid Park fees.

I hope that you will consider looking for an alternative site in Burlington for Disc Golf that will not compromise the limited woodlands we have that help to protect the lake.


Jean Markey-Duncan