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Cascade Locks launches 18-hole disc golf course

On Port property, course is addition to recent biking and windsports access

— If you are a fan of the popular and quickly growing sport of disc golf, the Columbia River Gorge is a great place to be. The Dalles, Hood River, North Bonneville and now, Cascade Locks, with the opening of The Locks Approach course, all have public disc golf courses.

“In March of 2012, the Port Commission authorized $10,000 for the construction of a permanent 18-hole disc golf course in the Port’s Industrial Park” explains Cascade Locks Port Commission’s Holly Howell. “The Port is actively marketing this prime employment land, zoned light industrial. The course was designed with the understanding that if business comes to the property, then the course will be realigned”. Even though it is an “industrial park”, it is open fields dotted with blackberry bushes with moderate to thick forest areas next to the Columbia River.

The course was designed by professional disc golfer Daniel Dulaney. Over the winter, Dulaney, with help from volunteers, cleared the fairways, poured the tee pads and installed the baskets. According to Howell; “ongoing course maintenance will be in partnership between the Port and these hard-working volunteers,” which includes Cascade Locks Port Commissioner and local businessman Scot Sullenger, who has “volunteered dozens of hours on the construction of the disc golf course”.

To name the new disc golf course, “the Port Commission held a contest for Cascade Locks residents. “The Locks Approach” was submitted by resident Jennifer Tomka, who is Cascade Locks’ point of contact for the course.

The course itself is very new so it’s a little rough around the edges, nothing serious. How often do you get to play a new disc golf course? The parking lot and first tee is across the road from Bear Mountain Forest Products. The first five baskets wind through a mostly open field with strategically placed trees and there are blackberry bushes along some of the fairways that will get much larger as summer approaches. The next four baskets are down a small hill in a wooded area next to the Columbia River. The underbrush can be thick here so keeping on the fairway is a good idea. The back nine runs around the north side of the course in and out of trees and bushes. Some of the holes have elevated concrete tee pads and all holes feature permanent Bentley baskets. The Locks Approach disc golf course is “constructed to Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) standards” states course designer/builder Dulaney.

The exact distance of the course is not known since there may be some adjustments to the layout, but course builder Dulaney says “the holes are from 175 to 560 feet long, there are some long holes.” With the Gorge wind, the exposed fairways will be a real challenge and the baskets in the woods by the river are on tight fairways, so this course should be a challenge to just about any disc golfer. Don’t be scared away if you’re a beginner, it will just take you a few more shots than the pros. It rains a bit here in Cascade Locks so the course can be wet at times. Wear sturdy shoes. If you plan on throwing discs into the blackberries, long pants could save you some scratches.

In the same area of The Locks Approach disc golf course is the EasyCLIMB trail system, a network of trails for mountain bikes and hikers that runs through the woods along the Columbia River and Blackberry Beach, a developing launch beach for kite and sailboarders. The disc golf course, trail system and windsports launch beach are all maintained with the help of volunteers.

What does the Cascade Locks community think of their new disc golf course? Howell says “the general community feeling is positive. Local families showed up to the course ribbon cutting despite the pouring rain that day. I look forward to summer workshops to introduce Cascade Locks residents, young and old, to the rapidly growing sport now located in our community’s back yard. Recreational uses of this disc golf course and the nearby EasyCLIMB Trail bring increased visibility to the land and visitors to our small town.”

There are currently no signs on the roads for The Locks Approach course. It is on the east side of Cascade Locks on Industrial Park Way directly across from the Bear Mountain Forest Products buildings. Take NW Forest Lane off US 30(Cascade Locks Hwy. /WaNaPa St.) east to Industrial Park Way. The parking lot is at the corner of Industrial Park Way and Cramblett Way.

For information regarding The Locks Approach disc golf course, call the Port of Cascade Locks at 541-374-8619 or Daniel Dulaney at 503-329-5954. Dulaney is the owner of Disc-Van-Go, a shuttle service for disc golf players from the Portland metro area.

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