Course damage, COVID restrictions left event with too much uncertainty to move forward
April 5, 2021 by Charlie Eisenhood in News with 0 comments
The fourth stop on the 2021 PDGA National Tour, Oregon’s Beaver State Fling, has been canceled due to storm damage on the course and uncertainty about the event’s ability to proceed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The day-use area at Milo McIver State Park, which houses the Riverbend disc golf course, is currently closed due to downed trees and debris from recent storms.
According to the PDGA:
On February 12, 2021, snow and ice began to fall around the Portland, Oregon metro area. After several days of the same, thousands had lost power, and downed trees littered the usually-scenic landscape. When park officials were finally able to get out to Milo McIver State Park to assess the damage, they were shocked at what they found. Milo looked like a logging project had moved through the park, and it took them almost three weeks to even clear the park roads for further assessment.
Currently, the Riverbend day-use area, which includes the disc golf courses, remains closed as a safety precaution while crews work to clear the storm damage and is not expected to be open until late May, at the earliest. To add to the situation, the park is still not issuing special use permits due to the uncertainty of the state of the pandemic at the time of the event.
“A lot of the trees suffered some serious storm damage and there are a lot of branches hung up that could be a safety hazard,” said Milo McIver park ranger supervisor Sam Gibson. Tree-climbing crews need to come out to the state park to remove the dangerous branches, but many nearby residential areas are also at risk from falling trees. “They’re trying to prioritize the homes before working on the natural spaces,” said Gibson.
COVID-19 restrictions are also limiting the potential for the event to take place. The typical December approval for the event was not granted due to the pandemic, and there’s still no timetable for when permits might be granted. “If somebody has a detailed COVID-19 risk prevention plan in place, we might be able to approve something in the future,” said Gibson.
It has been a difficult year for the Riverbend disc golf course at Milo McIver. Last fall, the course was threatened by major wildfires and faced evacuation orders. There was real concern that the course might be destroyed. Thankfully, it was spared fire damage, but now the storm damage has it shut down for the foreseeable future.
“This is heartbreaking,” said PDGA Director of Operations Mike Downes in a statement. “I’ll never forget the first time I walked onto the property of the East and West courses at Milo. The place just had a magical feeling to it, and anyone that has been there knows exactly what I am talking about. From the numerous PDGA NT Champions that have been crowned there, to its involvement in one of the most competitive Pro World Championships to date, Milo is a one-of-a-kind disc golf destination. Our heart aches not just for the Oregon scene, but for the entire disc golf community.”
PDGA Media Specialist Matt Rothstein said that the decision to cancel the event was a mutual decision between the PDGA events team and the BSF tournament directors Jeff Mittl and Jeff Hagerty.
The PDGA considered trying to replace the Beaver State Fling with another event to round out the National Tour, which just completed its first event of 2021 at the Texas State Disc Golf Championships, but determined that the calendar was too compressed to make it work. The National Tour will return for its second of five 2021 events at the Dynamic Discs Open on April 28.