Many disc golfers in the Ann Arbor area have noticed with varying degrees of frustration the new "greens fees" associated with playing at Hudson Mills. I wanted to take this opportunity to give the DiscGolfersR.us community the tools to communicate with their elected officials about this new policy.
First off, let me say that Hudson Mills is a beautiful course. The development and upkeep of both courses there is tremendous and I think that the Huron Clinton Metroparks do a great job with disc golf across SE Michigan.
Secondly, I think these fees are a big mistake. Not only does it diminish the experience for me personally to deal with the passes and the security team, it is my belief that the Metroparks will experience NO ADDITIONAL DOLLARS on account of burdening us all with the paperwork and expense. The numbers at the end of the year will determine whether I am right or wrong; but the crux of my concern is that the Metroparks will spend more money enforcing the policy and accounting for the dollars than they will realize in income.
Think about it. If you go out to Hudson Mills this Saturday, there will be at least two employees, if not four, motoring around and burning gas in their carts. I don't have the actual numbers yet, but from my observations the security team usually includes one younger and one "more senior" employee. I have heard that the younger employee is part-time and without benefits (10 dollars/hour), but the other employee is full-time with health and retirement benefits that must be considered part of the cost of this new regime. In addition, there is a receptionist that takes the fees in the office. Of course, this person may have to be in the office anyway, but if they spend 20% of their time dealing with disc golfers, then that is time the receptionist isn't doing something else to promote the goals of HCMA. As a result of all this enforcement effort, the carts will require more maintenance and the bookkeepers will incur additional accounting expenses. All of these costs are real and none of them add any value to the disc golfers or the public good generally.
The Metroparks are governed by a Board of Commissioners, with each Commissioner appointed by the elected County Commissioners in each of the counties. Our Commissioner from Washtenaw County is Robert Marans. Mr. Marans is a UofM Professor and has been on the Metroparks Board since 1986. His email is: firstname.lastname@example.org and he is a very dedicated park commissioner.
You can look up the contact information for the Metroparks Board of Commissioners here: http://www.metroparks.com/global/commissioners.php.
Please contact the Commissioners and let them know what you think. These fees are a pilot program and the Board's determination of whether these fees "work" will be critical in determining whether the fees are extended to all courses (and of course eventually increased). If you, like me, believe that the Parks Authority should focus their attention and resources into making great parks rather than employing more security, then let them know. They are already hearing from me, but they need to hear from you!
County Commissioner, 11th District