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Overlooked Voices: The Struggle for Disc Golf Recognition in Salt Lake County



Introduction

In a recent effort to advocate for the establishment of a new disc golf course at Crestwood Park, ElevateUT Disc Golf 501(c)(3) outlined several compelling arguments on its website. Despite these efforts and the apparent interest in disc golf among Salt Lake County residents, as indicated by recent survey results, the county's decision-making process has overlooked these voices.





This post examines the implications of such oversight and calls for a more inclusive approach to recreational planning in Salt Lake County, and provides a clear call to action for your voice to be heard.


The Heart of the Matter: Disc Golf's Dismissal

The recent survey conducted by Salt Lake County aimed to gauge the recreational needs and preferences of its residents. Among the myriad activities mentioned, disc golf emerged as a prominent interest, reflecting its growing popularity and the passionate community that supports it. Disc golf, known for its low barriers to entry and minimal environmental impact, aligns perfectly with the county’s goals of promoting accessible and sustainable outdoor activities. Despite this, the response from county officials was disheartening.






When the survey results were tabulated, the enthusiasm for disc golf was evident. Yet, instead of recognizing this interest as a valid and valuable expression of community recreational needs, Salt Lake County officials labeled disc golf enthusiasts as outliers. These "Strong disc golf advocates" were deemed to have skewed the survey results, their genuine interest dismissed as overzealousness rather than a legitimate call for more disc golf facilities. This resulted in Disc Golf being removed as an amenity to be considered for Crestwood Park -- despite that it still ranked as a second choice behind pickleball after the 39 "strong disc golf advocates" were removed.





This decision to sideline the disc golf community's voice is not just about overlooking a sport. It's a reflection of a broader issue in public planning processes — the failure to fully embrace the diversity of recreational interests. By dismissing the substantial interest in disc golf as merely the passion of a few, Salt Lake County has ignored the potential benefits that expanding disc golf facilities could bring. These benefits include fostering a sense of community, encouraging physical activity, and making efficient use of public lands in a way that resonates with a broad segment of the population.



Moreover, the categorization of disc golfers as merely "advocates" undermines the legitimacy of their interest. It suggests a hierarchy of recreational activities where some are considered more worthy of attention and support than others. This perspective not only diminishes the sport but also the individuals who enjoy it, many of whom see disc golf as more than a hobby but as a means of connection, health, and enjoyment of the outdoors.


Furthermore, it is imperative to acknowledge that Crestwood Park serves as a Regional Park. As such, it is designed to meet the recreational needs of all Salt Lake County residents, not solely those residing in its immediate vicinity. The park's designation as a regional facility underscores the importance of considering a wide array of recreational interests that reflect the diverse preferences of the county's broader population.


The decision by Salt Lake County officials to overlook the clear interest in disc golf revealed by their own survey is a missed opportunity. It's a missed opportunity to engage with a vibrant and growing community, to expand the county's recreational offerings, and to demonstrate a commitment to inclusive community planning. As we move forward, it's crucial that we address this oversight and work towards a future where the voices of all recreational enthusiasts, including disc golfers, are heard and valued.


CALL TO ACTION

There is one final open house, to discuss each master park plan. This is your opportunity to attend the meetings and advocate for what you are passionate about.


To view all the survey results and the documents this article was derived from, follow this link.






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