GOLD HILL — Disc golfers will have an official course in Jackson County again, provided they can prove their activity doesn't upset the environment or other park users.
The Gold Hill City Council on Monday granted the Rogue Valley Disc Association a 90-day trial run of a course at the sports park on Highway 234.
For final approval, course organizers must verify environmental resources would not be impacted by the course and disc golfers must prove they can co-exist with other park users.
Former mayor Gus Wolf voiced concerns over the hazards of wayward discs and damage to natural resources, including possible fairy shrimp, which are federally protected.
Wolf, who is helping with plans to add a skate park to the property, told the council he felt "due diligence" was necessary before allowing disc golfers to begin using the park.
Grants Pass resident Bob Chard, one of two disc golf course designers in Oregon, agreed to network with environmental agencies, including the Division of State Lands, to determine any environmental impact of the course.
"We're really hoping this course works out," Chard said.
"There are really no neighbors that would be impacted by us using the park and its pretty low impact," he said.
Sue Currie, a Grants Pass resident and longtime association member, said she hoped establishing a course closer to the Medford area would bring new disc golf fans out to play.
A handful of courses exist in Josephine County, but Jackson County's first course, at Holmes Park off Black Oak Drive in Medford, was closed in fall 2008 after neighbors complained of noise, drinking at the site and traffic.
Disc golfers use Holmes Park and another Medford parks with temporary gear, Currie said.
Medford parks officials suggested a course at the future Chrissy Park, near Roxy Ann Peak, but that park has yet to be developed.
"They basically said (Chrissy Park) was the only park they'd have us at but there's no telling how long that will take," Currie said. "It could be years."
Medford parks officials confirmed no disc golf courses are available inside city limits. Because of shallow irrigation lines, gear that is inserted into the ground is not permitted in city parks, said parks and recreation specialist Bev Power.
Currie said a course at Gold Hill would be a boost for Medford disc golfers who travel to Grants Pass to play on an established course or set up temporary courses elsewhere.
"It has been really frustrating. We want to build something that we're going to do at almost no cost to the city that provides recreation for a whole lot of city residents, and they don't want us," Currie said.
Chard said he hoped to have a response from state officials regarding natural resources at the Gold Hill site within a week.