It’s official. Devens Disc Golf is approved to move forward with installation of an additional 18 holes adjacent to the current course. This new course will offer longer holes with much of the same variety of terrain. It will play across the hill on the eastern side of Shepley’s Hill behind hole 6 and circle around to close to hole 12’s basket before returning to hole 4.
We approached Devens back in April with this concept. At the time, the land on Shepley’s Hill was transitioning from Mass Development Open Space to Devens land under a conservation restriction (CR). Our timing was excellent because the CR language was not finalized and could be amended to allow the installation and operation of a new course to occur. One primary concern of the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC, the agency responsible for managing the land use in Devens), was the environmental impact around the Certified Vernal Pool behind hole six, as well as numerous other vernal pools at the top of Shepley’s.
The course layout was set to ensure sufficient setback from the vernal pool and use of an existing tank road to minimize impact. Vernal pools will be an area of ongoing sensitivity. We will rope those areas off and treat them as unplayable (or OB) to reduce any potential impact. Stay tuned for some additional educational materials on vernal pools. Our respect and proper treatment of those areas will ensure our continued access to this land for disc golf.
Based on a course design that minimized any impact on vernal pools, it was recommended that we could move forward without the need for a more complete environmental impact determination by the state. At a meeting of the DEC on Aug. 8th, that recommendation was approved, and pending some additional paperwork (update of our current lease – yes Devens Disc Golf leases the land from Mass Development), we are set to go.
This process went as smoothly as it did because Devens sees the success and growth of our course and the respect of its players for maintaining the land. The Devens Master Plan sought to utilize its open space for “passive recreation” and although disc golf is not zero impact, it is an activity that draws a wide range of participants and keeps the land in a natural state.
It’s now up to us to continue to be responsible managers of the land and continue to enjoy what we are about to build together. Stay tuned for more details on work days and basket sponsorships.
Join us for a walk of the new land this Sunday morning at 9:30am!
Here is a view of the proposed layout -