The author of a recent [March 3] letter to Xpress supporting a second 18-hole disc-golf course at Richmond Hill Park made the following statement: "Bikers and hikers have many other places for recreation near Asheville. Disc golfers do not." As the coordinator of trail development at Richmond Hill Park, I 'd like to provide some friendly clarification to this comment.
First, the trails at Richmond Hill will be a totally unique resource for hikers and bikers in Asheville. There are no other trail systems as centrally located and accessible. The nearest trail system open to bikes is Bent Creek — a 20- to 30-minute drive for most Asheville residents. Accessing almost all other trails open to bikes requires driving anywhere from 35 minutes to an hour or more. It takes five minutes to drive from downtown to Richmond Hill Park, and it's just a 20-minute bike ride.
In relation to this, there are 18-hole disc-golf courses in Mars Hill, Black Mountain and Waynesville, and there's a nine-hole course in Fletcher. There is a course laid out on the UNCA campus. These locations seem pretty equal in terms of "nearness" to Asheville.
Finally, the inclusion of this statement in the author's letter implies that the presence of hiking and biking trails at Richmond Hill Park is a barrier to the development of a second 18-hole course. This could not be further from the truth. Disc golf club representatives and trail representatives have had repeated communication over the past few years in order to work toward accommodating all user groups. Most recently, the disc-golf designer and I met for a survey of the remaining space at the park and reached an agreement on how to develop the park in a way that includes the proposed second 18 holes and ensures that trails have enough room to be worthwhile. Significant compromises were made by both sides in order to make this happen. The course proposal currently being presented to the city was a direct result of the agreement reached that day. If anything, Richmond Hill Park could be cited as an example of how different user groups and a city park system can develop an unused park space to its maximum benefit possible while retaining its integrity as a woodland.
If you'd like more information about trail development at Richmond Hill, visit www.pisgahareasorba.org or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
— Mike Brown
Richmond Hill trails coordinator Pisgah Area SORBA