I know that you'll read this. I just wanted to write to you specifically and ask you to keep an open mind as it pertains to disc golf in the park, with the idea that we can all behave without hysterical outbursts and threats. Several people felt intimidated and threatened at the tour on saturday and that simply is no way to treat another human being.
I'd like to acknowledge the fact that we know Mclaren Park has been neglected for years and that this is really the source of your anger. I also understand that you feel threatened by the idea of disc golf in the park since it seems to you that the decision to install a course was done with little, if any, of your input. The design is not set in stone, so you DO have a chance for input. That's what the meeting on the 20th is all about.
I feel that disc golf would be a net positive for Mclaren because it would bring an entirely new set of people out to enjoy the park, and that group of people will also invest itself in the security, cleanliness, and development of the park into the jewel it deserves to be. Now some of you may argue that it already is a jewel and that it doesn't need more people. The fallacy here is that the park is a public space that can and should be shared by all.
To that point, disc golf is unique in that it doesn't require exclusive use. Every day in crowded parks like Golden Gate or Aquatic Park in Berkeley, disc golf happens. Hundreds of people share the space without conflict. In other words, you really have very little to fear when it comes to disc golf, and if it gets installed, my hunch is that many will wonder what the big deal was. Certainly there would be no removal of the off leash dog area, nor restrictions on where anyone could walk or hang out.
Some may argue that environmental degredation is the key issue. It is true that disc golf, like any activity in which thousands of people over time participate, has a footprint. However, there are ways to mitigate (even offset) each and every concern, and these have already been tried and tested, as well as planned for in conjunction with the rec and park department. Disc Golfers have already shown up at Friends of Mclaren Park workparties, pulling Himalayan blackberries from the ground and helping to plant some new natives. Much more help of this sort will happen in and around the proposed course. The course was carefully designed to ensure safety, and to completely avoid any natural areas within Mclaren.
The people who will come to play will be a surprise. We don't know who will actually show up, but we have seen an amazing array of people in golden gate park. Expect to see a lot of families in addition to young adults out there. There won't be as many people who come to play in Mclaren as do Golden Gate but it should be enough to give the park a better presence of individuals who will help prevent crimes...simply by being there.
I hope this open letter helps you to reconsider your position. I understand that we may have different opinions on how the
park should be enjoyed, but I hope you realize that we all do share a love of the park, and that we will help ensure that it is a fun, safe, and healthy experience for all.