When disc golf players returned to Raptors Knoll Friday, after more than a month of Langley Township course closures due to COVID-19, they were welcomed by several striking park changes.
One, a ten-foot wide cedar eagle that rests high above hole 10.
Last Tuesday, Aldergrove disc golfer Kevin Strybos erected the bird on 12-foot high wooden posts with help from the people he refers to as his “disc golf family.”
Players Chris Lambrecht, Kevin Strybos, Scott Doan, and Anthony and Deanna Hunter, all took part in mounted the eagle.
Strybos, a carpenter, explained the carving was given to him from a homeowner he worked for a few years back.
Doan, or as he’s called on the course, “Skippy,” refinished its cedar exterior after years of it sitting in a garage.
Raptors Knoll, Langley Township’s newest disc golf course, was built atop a 38-acre reclaimed landfill and is part of Jackman Wetlands Park in Aldergrove.
Its name pays homage to the “raptors” or eagles that can be seen flying above hole 8 – which itself forms in the shape of a bird with the use of boulders, wood planks, and built-up soil and mulch.
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This is just some of the latest volunteer work being done by players, both amateur and professional, on the course – which was constructed solely from of volunteer labour, donor support, and $15,000 in capital costs from the Township.
Recently, Raptors Knoll was granted a Township Neighbourhood Initiative Program grant of up to $5,000 to further develop and beautify its course.
One of its founders, professional disc golf player Chris Hartmann, said other Jackman Wetlands Disc Golf Society founders have utilized the park’s recent closure.
“With no players, we’ve taken this opportunity to do the work,” Hartmann said.
Raptors Knoll Disc Golf Park nears completion
In fact, so much has been completed by volunteers in the past three weeks that the society has agreed the park is nearing completion.
Many Lower Mainland individuals and families have spent their time in self-isolation, choosing to help out.
Together, volunteers have spread 2,000 pounds of grass seed, tamped down on invasive blackberry bushes, redefined the course’s walkways, fences, and planted 110 new native trees and shrubs.
“Forty nine maples, Saskatoon trees, salmon berry and snowberry bushes, red twig dogwoods and more will liven up the forest and provide some yummy snacks in the future,” explained founder Stewart McIsack, also a pro player.
“With all of the volunteer work, everyone gets to feel like the course is a bit of their own,” Hartman added.
The society hopes the Township will take over course maintenance within the next four years.
It also is encouraging Aldergrove families to come and try out the sport.
“We see disc golf as being a highly accessible, emerging sport. It’s free to play, for families and individuals,” Hartmann said.
“All you need is one disc.”
New Township COVID-19 guidelines for the course ask disc golfers to at all times maintain a two-metre distance and play in groups of no more than four.