Nearly 50 years after the thwack of a golf club meeting a little white ball could be heard near Rocky Mountain National Park, the remnants of the 9-hole course are being erased by park crews.
Originally part of Stead's Ranch in Moraine Park, but acquired by the National Park Service in 1962, the golf course slowly has been fading from view. Yet while the buildings and above-ground infrastructure that once were part of the ranch long have been gone, there remains some evidence of the golf course.
That soon will change, though, as crews are about to begin work removing the golf course's tees and greens, filling in a man-made drainage ditch, and removing below grade foundations and infrastructure. This work is scheduled to be completed by 2009.
The tees and greens (more than 1,100 cubic yards of material) need to be removed because these elevated areas have altered natural wetlands and are now harboring invasive plants such as Canada thistle and yellow toadflax. By filling in the drainage ditch, park officials expect natural wetland function will be restored to the area that is now being drained by the ditch.
Heavy equipment will be used to remove the tees and greens, fill in the drainage ditch, and excavate and remove below grade foundations and other infrastructure. Upon completion, all excavated areas will be restored to natural grade, and all disturbed areas, including haul roads, will be replanted with native plants or reseeded with native seed. When the entire project is complete, the natural hydrologic regime will be restored.
Prior to beginning the work, park staff will be collecting seeds from native plants in the area. These seeds will be used to produce plants and seeds for the restoration of the area. Herbicides will also be applied in the project area in order to control the spread of noxious weeds.
The work is to be limited to week days, and no work will be conducted from August 29 to October 13 during the fall elk mating season. Work may resume on October 14, but only if elk mating behavior and elk viewing in Moraine Park would not be unduly compromised. After late October, work will proceed, weather permitting.