Amherst disc golf, pump track planned

AMHERST – An alternative recreation park, featuring disc golf and a pump track, is being planned for 22 acres of school-owned property near Route 101.

Selectmen voted unanimously last week to support the plans. Recreation Department Director Craig Fraley will now talk to the Planning Board and Amherst School Board about the proposal.

Disc golf, sometimes called Frisbee golf or Frolf, is played with a flying disc. The point, like golf, is for players to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws.

Fraley said he is hoping to have 18 holes, like golf, and that the natural hills of the property at 11 Baboosic Lake Road will make a good course. A pump track is a small, looping trail system ridden continuously without pedaling, with speed depending on the rider’s ability to gain momentum by "pumping" the tight terrain transitions of the track.

Pump tracks are popular with mountain bikers, who use it build their skills and balance, and they are farly easy to install, Fraley said.

The tracks can also be used by parents to teach young children to ride bikes. Cemetery Fields was used by the children for that purpose before it was shut down last year. No taxpayer money will be used, only recreation funds, and there may be revenue from tournaments, Fraley said. He said he hopes recreation staff and volunteers will build the golf course after a professional designer creates the plans.

Disc golf was formal­ized as a sport in the 1970s, he said. It uses trees, shrubs and natural terrain to provide "the same joys and frustra­tions as golf," he said.

The property has ac­cess to the B&M rail trail and would offer access to the Hazen property. Residents voted this year to approve the purchase of Hazen’s 227 acres of woods and fields.

Fraley said he hopes work can begin this spring so that there can be a park opening in spring 2017.

According to Wiki­pedia, there are about 25 disc golf courses in New Hampshire. The closest one is at Wilton- Lyndeborough Coopera­tive Middle-High School.

Fraley said Amherst Recreation is hoping to partner with a profes­sional disc golf course in Manchester.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.