Local options for disc golf are many — and there’s more to come at Richmond Hill

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 mikemtnbike@gmail.com. Thanks!

— Mike Brown
Richmond Hill trails coordinator Pisgah Area SORBA

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3 thoughts on “Local options for disc golf are many — and there’s more to come at Richmond Hill

  1. Lawrence F. Fruchtman

    I am a disc golfer and a hiker and in trying to stay as unbiased as possible, I would have to say that the hiking/walking trail could do well with a disc golf course and I like that more people in a secluded area makes it safer. There is a safety factor though that really needs to be taken seriously. The more advanced disc golfers are throwing discs with a lot of force. If the trail isn’t far enough away, someone could get hurt. The bike trail doesn’t make as much sense to me, since I don’t think there is enough space to make it worthwhile. If I am mountain biking, I want a reasonably challenging legnthy trail (and I am out of shape). The average or advanced mtn. biker will be disappointed. If you are trying to develop just a simple bike walking path, well, I would think there are better places for that. Richmond Hill just doesn’t seem like the best fit for that. I am interested in more details though.

  2. Mike Brown

    Please e-mail me for more details, I’ll be happy to share them.

    For now, just know we’ll have over 6 miles of trail by the time we’re done and even now, riding from my house, I get 2 hours of total ride time- about an hour and 15 minutes on trail- without getting bored.


  3. Lawrence F. Fruchtman

    Sounds like a quality addition. As long as it’s safe, having multiple activity options will help bring entire families out together. Not everyone in most households share the same interests, bikers, hikers, disc golfers,etc. But if they can do their own thing at the same time, at the same park, it can be a real quality of life enhancer for the area. I don’t live there but I do have a lot of family in the area. I look forward to seeing this in use.

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