Fund-raising event will benefit local park

ESCANABA – Delta County Parks and Campgrounds’ Pioneer Trail Park is looking for community help in funding two new disc golf courses opening there this summer.

According to Delta Conservation District Executive Director Rory Mattson, the community has two opportunities to donate to the approximately $20,000 project, which includes two 18-hole courses – a woodland ridge course and a river walk course – and two practice holes.

“Right now the courses are under construction,” said Mattson. “We wanted to start it a month ago, but because of the snow, we couldn’t so … we should have the first 18 holes, the woodland course, open by Memorial Day.”

Once completed, both courses will be open to the public free of charge.

To aid in its fundraising efforts, the Delta Conservation District is sponsoring a “Flying” for Family Fun Disc Golf Fundraiser later this month.

The Delta County Jaycees, which has donated $4,000 to the project, is co-sponsoring the event.

The fundraiser is set for May 30 at the Terrace Bay Inn & Suites in Gladstone beginning with cocktails at 5 p.m. and includes a dinner, raffle, and silent auction. The buffet dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Individual tickets for the event are available for $25. Tickets for tables of eight may be purchased for $200, and includes extra raffle tickets.

“If you buy a table of eight, you’ll get more than just your ticket,” said Mattson. “You’ll also get complimentary raffle tickets. We have some real good prizes. We’re going to have a couple guns, a crossbow; we’ll have some hunts…We have a custom picnic table being made.”

Additional prizes include framed autographs of Green Bay Packers players Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, as well as other prizes donated to the event.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available at the Delta Conservation District/Parks Office located at Pioneer Trail Park, the Delta County Airport, and

Mattson said the park is also collecting business, organization, or individual sponsorships for each of the 36 holes of the courses at the cost of $400 a hole.

“You’ll get your name on the beginning of that hole with that hole laid out, so you see a picture of the hole, like golf,” said Mattson.

Those who donate more than the $400 sponsorship will have their name featured on a board in front of the courses.

The parks have also applied for some local grant funding for the courses.

The addition of the two disc golf courses isn’t the only new offering at the county parks this year. Kayaks, bicycles, and bean bags will also be available for visitors to rent out, and the park office will function as a small store with snack foods and other items available for purchase.

Looking forward, Mattson said a new pavilion will be constructed in Pioneer Trail Park in the fall, and will open for use next year.

“We did get a Michigan Trust Fund grant for $50,000, which is about half the cost of a pavilion, so we’re going to put in a brand-new pavilion,” he said.

The 104-by-50 foot enclosed pavilion will be fully functional with restrooms and a serving area.

“It’s going to have the doors that go up and down, so it can be used even in the wind or if it’s raining,” said Mattson.

Park officials are currently working on funding the other half of the project.

Delta County Parks and Campgrounds have experienced significant upgrades in recent years.

Bathroom facilities at Pioneer Trail Park have been completely redone and all campsites have been upgraded to 50 amp sites, containing water, cable television, and wireless Internet connections. In addition, the park just added some new playground equipment last year.

O.B. Fuller Park has also experienced significant improvements including additional camp sites, with sites upgraded to 50 amp sites with water. They also created a new beach area with solid sand and new playground equipment.

In early 2012, the Delta County Board of Commissioners agreed to lend up to $200,000 to fix up the parks, of which the parks has used $150,000. Approximately $430,000 of parks money from camping fees and grant dollars have also been allocated for the improvements, said Mattson.

The parks officially open for business today. For more information on Delta County Parks and Campgrounds or on the disc golf fundraiser, contact 786-1020.