The Campbell River Disc Golf Society has not only been playing hard at the Cooper’s Hawk course in Willow Point, but also working hard there by planting trees.
Over the past three years, the club has planted around 400 trees, including around 150 this year, to improve the beauty and playability of the course, said club president Colin Filliter.
“Any good disc golf course has a lot of trees,” he said.
Filliter has been using his acumen as a professional forester to plan the future of the course — and its trees.
“We recognize there are some trees needing replacement — the course has a lot of alder and maple that are over mature and dying,” he said. “So the trees are coming down, either naturally, or by the city’s danger tree removal (program).”
Trees are important because they form the course’s fairway and force players to “shape shots,” he said.
But they are also important because many disc-golfers play just to be in nature.
“A course with a nice forest is always more popular than some empty desert,” he said.
The club has planted a mix of tree species, including spruce in more shaded areas, Douglas fir in dryers areas with more sun, and as a bit of experiment this year, some white pine. They have also tried planting cedar, but to little success.
“The deer seem to eat it,” said Filliter. “We will not be doing cedar again.”
The club’s efforts have been helped by two of its members who are professional tree planters, Kelcey Hathaway and Jamie McGrath.
“They’re better at picking out the microsites where to plant, and they’re just better planters,” he said. “When they plant, we know the trees are more likely to survive, and somebody’s not just stuffing them into the ground.”
The young trees have been planted close to existing trees or stumps to keep them from being trampled.
The club hopes to keep planting around 150 trees a year.
“We’re just trying to plan for the future and plant some trees while they’re still standing,” he said. “Hopefully, the younger ones can then grow up and become established.”
The trees were donated by a few different groups, including Mosaic Forest Management, SuavAir, and the City of Campbell River — and the club was given a deal on them by nursery PRT Campbell River.
The club has also been helped by city arborist Alex Walton, who has helped topped dangerous limbs off living trees to keep more on the course, said Filliter.
Planting trees is not the only thing the club has been doing to improve the look and feel of the course. Club members have also been removing invasive plant species, including blackberry and holly, that not only compete with native species but also prove prickly for players.
“It’s not too fun to throw a disc into that stuff,” said Filliter.