Pioneer Trail course still popular

ESCANABA — As work on the North Bluff Disc Golf Course in Gladstone continues, a disc golf course at Pioneer Trail Park has remained popular among local residents.

Though the Pioneer Trail Park disc golf course was once free to use, disc golf enthusiasts must now pay a fee to use it. Delta Conservation District (DCD) Executive Director Rory Mattson said this has been the case for a while.

“It’s been that way for two years now,” he said.

Currently, people looking to play on Pioneer Trail Park’s disc golf course have two options — paying a daily fee and buying a yearly pass. Mattson said usage of the park’s disc golf course has not gone down since the fees were introduced.

“It’s actually increased,” he said.

The course is mostly used by people living in the area, Mattson said. He noted it has been particularly popular among senior citizens and families.

According to Mattson, the introduction of the fees was influenced by the cost of installing the course. The course has had a cost of $57,313 so far, and the DCD does not expect to recoup this through the fees anytime soon.

“It’ll take years to do it,” Mattson said.

The fees are also used to help cover maintenance costs for the disc golf course.

Course maintenance includes both relatively minor efforts such as picking up trash and larger-scale work. This winter, Mattson said trees near the course affected by beech bark disease were cut down.

“We had to take down a bunch of trees,” he said.

The trees will be removed in the spring or summer.

Mattson said most of the course’s baskets are in place — with the exception of baskets for its “island holes.”

“That lake level’s got to go down,” he said.

Aside from installing these baskets and building a bridge to the island they are located on once the water level goes down, there are no major plans in store for Pioneer Trail Park’s disc golf course.

“We’ll just keep maintaining it,” Mattson said.

Mattson added estimates have shown the project’s cost will be more than $60,000 once the bridge has been installed.