Golf courses eat up land, drink up water and put down too much pesticide
This letter is addressed to Frisco voters who are undecided about how to vote on Initiated Question 200 – adoption of an ordinance prohibiting a golf course on the Frisco Peninsula Recreation Area.
Listen to some pertinent facts presented in a carefully researched article titled “Greener Golf” in the National Geographic Traveler magazine (May/June 2000).
“The 16,000-plus golf courses in the United States take up more land area than Rhode Island and Delaware combined (3,000-plus square miles, 1,920,000-plus acres). On average, each course uses a dozen pounds of pesticides per acre annually (almost 12,000 tons) and enough water to supply a town of 8,000.
“Multiply by the total, and that’s enough water for almost half the nation’s population – not counting the 350 to 450 new courses that open every year” (page 121).
“One 1990 study discovered that a course in Maryland received nearly seven times as much pesticide as a nearby corn and soybean field. A study In Massachusetts found that 10 of the 17 pesticides used on four Cape Cod courses had leached into underground water supplies” (page 121).
While Frisco may vary in some particulars from the sites in the above quoted examples, the general point about the adverse environmental impact of a golf course cannot be denied.
As disturbing as the above quotes are, even more disturbing is the prospect of what could happen to the the remainder of the peninsula still managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
As we all know, golf courses are prime targets for high-priced development on surrounding land. Indeed, many are sustained by this upscale real estate, trophy homes, condominiums, club houses recreation facilities, etc.
In the case of Frisco, how long would it be before an enterprising developer with money and contacts around the country convinced the Forest Service bureaucracy in Washington that the undeveloped portion of the peninsula is no longer “manageable?”
Irresistible pressure would mount for a “trade” for land in some other part of the country in exchange for the remainder of our Peninsula.
Such a scenario is not at all far-fetched. In fact, I consider it likely to happen should a golf course become a reality.
The people of Summit County would be the losers, denied access to recreational land for the benefit of expensive real estate development and Itinerant golf enthusiasts able to afford the prices. Frightening.
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