A Disc Golfer Review Moderator on Passive Use of Parks
Parks and recreation on the whole has a problem with passive use areas. If you read the stuff they have you read in college to get a degree in parks and recreation, there is a lot of Horace Albright/Aldo Leopold/Frederick Law Olmsted stuff in there that all talks about passive use areas. Passive use is a major component of basic park design.
Then we get out of college and try to cram as many active use areas into the park that we can. Everybody and their brother has an idea on what to do here, there and everywhere. The idea that there are areas set aside that you are not going to mess with and leave for the community to experience nature goes out the window. You need a pool. And playgrounds. And pavilions for picnics with barbecue grills and horseshoe pits. And baseball fields. And soccer fields. And community centers. And designated, paved bike trails. And dog parks. And disc golf courses. Eventually you run out of room and…so you know that passive use area? Nobody uses that, right?
Of course people do use it, but they are doing their own thing. They won’t be organized. There generally is no club for people who like to wander alone in the woods and ponder life. Usually when you go after their land, they are sitting ducks.
Sometimes they get organized and they look a lot like this group. Usually the most vocal are people who live nearby, they have a lot of their day to day invested in the passive use land being there.
Stories like this don’t freak me out. Communities DO need passive use areas. Not every undeveloped piece of land with trees needs to be a disc golf course. There has to be a balance someplace.