Thursday, December 1, 2011

Walnut Canyon Trails vs. Golf Course, continued saga

I went to the small community "stakeholders" meeting regarding the proposed Golf Course Expansion at the golf course on Tuesday.  There was a good turnout of trail folks. I'd like to thank Craig Martin for inviting me.

Several options were discussed, including making improvements to the golf course within its existing bounds, a moderate expansion, and one option mapped in by the consulting architect that appeared to push the golf course right to the canyon edge in several locations, possibly wiping out key trails. That is the troubling one.  I'm not sure how that last one passed the county's laugh test, but then again, I once saw eight roundabouts mapped in on Trinity. Someone has put up pink flags back behind the golf course along the trail. Not sure what that means. I'll try to ride it this weekend if its not deep snow.

Clearly, some community discussion that includes trail users needs to happen to ensure the trails are preserved in recognizable form and to ensure a sense of fairness of process. The County needs to hear from trail users loud and clear (and sooner the better). The County needs to do a better job of reaching out to trail stakeholders, or we will end up with yet another set of angry citizens feeling snookered and petitioning Council to kill a potentially valuable project. But its not all the county's work. Citizens are obliged to engage early and often, too, rather than wait till decisions are made and then get mad.

I think the golf course is a very valuable community resource even though I don't play a single hole of golf. I support the golf course and the aquatic center for the same reason I expect golfers and swimmers who don't bike to support bike lanes, bike riders, and Tour de Los Alamos bike race--for the greater good. Further, the course needs to and should be making some important safety improvements such as to its driving range and realigning some of the tee off areas that occasionally drive balls across Diamond Drive.

But ultimately, what makes Los Alamos special isn't a golf course. Many communities have those. Its really our wonderful geography and isolation from the urban madness: our lovely trails, mountains, mesas, and canyons. And, we lost a lot of National Forest trails to the Las Conchas Fire, so our county trails are even more critical to maintain since so much of the surrounding Forest Service land was burned and trails destroyed by the fire and subsequent flash flooding. Lets not lose any more trail resource, but instead find a way to make this all work together in some sense of harmony. Just like we should deal with other civic issues--harmoniously.

This topic will be covered early at the Parks and Rec Board meeting next Thursday.  I am not sure where it will be covered in the agenda, or how the P and R Board runs its show. It will probably be discussed under B or I or both, as I have highlighted below. Be there if you care.

Los Alamos County Parks & Recreation Board
Aquatic Center - Training Room
December 08, 2011
5:30 p.m.

A. Approval of Minutes – (A1)
B. Golf Course Phase 1 Study – Exhibits at the meeting
C. Overlook Park
D. Communication/Linkage Between Council and Boards
E. FY2013 Work Plan – (A2)
A. Chairman Report
B. Council Liaison Report (Mike Wismer)
C. Recreation Division Report – (B1)
D. Parks Division Report (B2)
E. Capital Improvement Projects Progress
F. Open Space & Parks Advisory Subcommittee
G. Ice Rink & Recreation Advisory Subcommittee
H. Aquatic Center Advisory Subcommittee
I. Golf Course Advisory Subcommittee
J. Environmental Sustainability Board
A. Parks & Recreation Board List (C1)
B. Subcommittee List (C2)
C. Action Items Log Sheet (C3)
D. Action Items for Next Month
VIII. NEXT PRB Meeting – January 12, 2012


Anonymous said...

The meeting has been moved to Fuller Lodge. Apparently the course developer feels the need to remove the trails in the name of safety. It's not like the people most at risk on the golf course aren't the golfers themselves -- particularly golfers who down a few brews at the new clubhouse. The pink flags are survey markers -- apparently the developer feels confident enough that things are going to be done the way he wants to have spent $$$ on marking the territory. How is it that the town gets a chance to vote to kill a children's swimming pool but not a shot at a golf course?

Anonymous said...

I understand the pink flags were placed in the ground by Craig Martin not the architect. They were not placed accurately and Craig,(a county employee), should have done a better job informing us. As an outdoor enthusiast in our community, I would like things to be done correctly and objectively so that we can make a better and more educated decision about this project.