Grand Traverse Audubon Club

Killingsworth Park Concerns

The objectives of the Grand Traverse Audubon Club are the welfare and preservation of the bird life and other fauna, the flora, the resources and the beauty of our environment, especially in the Grand Traverse Area. We shall cooperate with any individual, organization, or governmental unit that shares these objectives.

In the spirit of the above objectives, the Board of the Grand Traverse Audubon Club would like to go on record in support of those opposing the construction of a Disc Golf Course within the boundary of Killingsworth Park, designated (on page 31 of the East Bay Township Recreation Plan) as a “wildlife preserve.”

Disc Golf is an active, competitive sport played usually between two or more individuals, and is sometimes accompanied by crowds or spectators which can become loudly encouraging of competitor performance with no reason to be particularly appreciative of Killingsworth Park’s designated purpose.  Disc Golf is inconsistent with the concept of “wildlife preserve,” which calls for a more quiet atmosphere and mien within which one can indulge in more passive and possibly more healthy aerobic types of exercise with an eye to deeper, even possibly spiritual, respect and appreciation for the setting.

Additionally, we would especially like to express concern regarding the potential impacts of construction of a Disc Golf Course, and indulgence in that sport, upon the State of Michigan designated threatened species, the Red-shouldered Hawk.  This threatened hawk species regularly has been reported as nesting in Killingsworth Park for the past eight years, every year since our Grand Traverse Audubon Club instituted an internet birdalert e-mail program.

There is also concern that tree removals to provide obstacle free glide paths for the discs and construction of other structures and elements necessary to play this sport would result in fragmentation of the forest habitat.  Ornithological literature indicates that forest fragmentation results in increased nest predation of forest interior dwelling bird species by bird and mammal predators by giving them increased access to the nests of thrushes, warblers, tanagers, vireos and woodpeckers as well as hawks and owls (all of which have been observed at Killingsworth Park by the McCombs).  Forest fragmentation is deemed a significant contributor in the diminishment in the population of these species.

As a club we have no objection to Disc Golf as a sport or activity per se.  What is objectionable is the attempt to introduce this sport in the context of an East Bay Township Board approved Recreational Plan which designates Killingsworth Park as a “wildlife preserve”, especially when considering the recreation plan objective (page 34) to “broaden community understanding regarding sustainable levels of recreation usage of natural features.”

In conclusion, we would like to draw attention to the value of forests, the investment of nature in terms of time and resources to produce their existence, their contributions in terms of sustenance of other life forms, their functions of supporting the summertime cooling of atmospheric temperature, the capacity for absorption and productive utilization of carbon dioxide, and in the usefulness of wood in all sorts of human activities and endeavors.  Thoughts in this vein should induce in us a hesitancy to bring about forest diminishment or destruction without very careful consideration.

Respectfully submitted with the approval of the Board of the Grand Traverse Audubon Club on  October _4__, 2009.


_Edward Moehle_______           _Bob Carstens_______      _10-4-09
President                             Vice President-Environment


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