ESCANABA - Progress on a disc golf course at Delta County's Pioneer Trail Park is ongoing as park officials continue to secure funding for the project.
Currently 18 baskets have been put into place for the woodland ridge portion of the park's course, though it will not officially be completed until spring. The course is open to the public free of charge.
"We have the 18 baskets in and people have been playing those," said Rory Mattson, executive director of the Delta Conservation District. "Then this fall, this winter, and next spring we'll be putting in the other nine baskets for holes. We'll be putting in all 27 tee pads, and then of course, we have a practice hole."
The signage for the course will also be completed at this time, as each hole will feature a sign showing the layout of that particular hole and the name of the group, organization, business, or individual sponsoring it.
The entire cost for the project has been $40,000, he estimates, A "Flying" for Family Fun Disc Golf Fundraiser in May raised approximately $8,000 and several community groups, organizations and businesses have donated money to the effort.
The Rotary Club of Escanaba recently made a $5,000 contribution to the course, while the Delta County Jaycees have donated $4,000. Mattson said the Hannahville Indian Community/Island Resort & Casino has also committed to donating $2,500 to sponsor a bridge and holes on a small island in the Escanaba River as part of the river walk portion of the course. CK Invasives and Brunette & Son Inc. have also been key players in its implementation, according to Mattson.
Large sponsors such as these groups and businesses will have their names featured on a large sign near the beginning of the disc golf course listing all the major sponsors of the project.
Mattson noted the goal is to have this all finished by Memorial Day of 2014.
Once finished, the park will then explore putting in nine additional holes.
"We want to get the 27 up and running with tee pads and signs," said Mattson. "Otherwise we just keep putting in baskets and nothing ever gets done."
Though the course is only partially complete at the moment, during a recent visit to Pioneer Trail Park, Mattson said he counted more than 60 people playing disc golf on the 18 holes currently with baskets installed.
"It's been getting heavy, heavy use," he said. "I've seen big groups come there and play, so it's getting a lot of usage right now even though we just put the baskets in so somebody could play."
Mattson noted by next year the park will have discs available at the park to check out, since currently discs are being donated for visitors to use; otherwise they must bring their own.
"People really enjoy it," he said. "We're officially going to kick it off and dedicate it next year, but we just wanted to get something in this year that people could play."
The DCD continues to look for sponsors and donors for the project.
Those interested in sponsoring a hole or donating to the disc golf course project should call the DCD Office at (906) 553-7700.