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Disc golf course soon disappearing from Willow River State Park

The disc golf course at Willow River State Park will be removed this fall, park officials said Wednesday.

The course, which has grown from nine holes to 13, was originally put in place as a pilot program.

"Experience has taught us that although disc golf is a popular sport enjoyed by people of all ages, it is not compatible, given the limited space we have available, with adjacent park activities," said Darrel Richer, park supervisor. "We are going to concentrate on supporting the traditional activities that are so important to the individuals and families who treasure this park."

The picnic area, playground and nature trail are all adjacent to the disc golf course, and there have been complaints and management problems arising from that close proximity. The course has been the site of numerous citations for littering, dogs off leash, underage drinking and illegal drug use. Signs have been vandalized and trees damaged. The park does not have sufficient staff or resources to manage a disc golf course.

Willow River, located near Hudson in St. Croix County, is currently the only Wisconsin state park to feature a disc golf course. Most disc golf courses in the state are maintained by local municipalities. Others operate on private property. Disc golfers have many alternatives.

Park staff plans to remove the course later this month.

"This was an experiment, and like all experiments it was a learning experience," said Dan Schuller, DNR director of state parks. "While we want to provide diverse recreation at our state parks, we had a combination of adjacent uses that simply did not mix."