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Independence to add new recreation trails

By Stephanie Lane | Sports Intern
On May 3, 2012

Community members of Independence are readying themselves for the introduction of a new disc golf course and running course just north of Riverview Park. Spearheading the project are Shaun Gatherum, Ken Chadwick and Steven Christenson.

"The project has three phases. The first phase we have been working on is creating three trails that run in the woods along the river. This part is almost completed. Phase two is connecting the trails by creating a path that will run the perimeter of the Independence Sports Complex. Phase three will be laying wood chips on the paths," states Gatherum.

"At this point we are at the end of phase one and would love any help to move the project along. We were hoping to be finished by June, but at this point the work is much and the volunteers are few so we are looking at August hopefully to complete," continued Gatherum.

"For the disc golf course, the first nine holes will run from the dog park to the bridge and in the future will run through the trails," stated Chadwick. "There are a lot of trees down there and it floods around the holes."

A lot of the holes have been cleared of brush and been cleaned up but the bottom line is that, without the money, supplies cannot be bought to start installing the disc golf holes.

"This trail began as I have been searching for an off-road place to run locally. My family participates in the Bush Park summer runs and we thought this location would be a good place to replicate that and promote running as a family and running with children at an earlier age," stated Gatherum.

Gatherum continues, "All over you see people running on the streets. Street running is hard on the body and this trail will help provide an alternative to that.  Additionally, it will provide a place to run that is out of the flow of traffic. This is especially important for young runners. I would like to see this community develop a more formal running community and this is great opportunity for this to happen."

The disc golf course in the past had always been presented to the City of Independence as something they should put into the community. Recently, Chadwick and Christenson presented their design to the city as something they wanted to do. With this change the city was all for the introduction of this new course.

Currently, they have half of the funding they need to start putting holes in the ground. "If anyone would like to sponsor a basket, it costs $200 to help get it in the ground," stated Christenson.

"We are currently looking for volunteers to help build trails and help maintain trails.  One of our biggest needs at the moment is ascertaining the use of a tractor to help level and clear the path that will connect the three-forested trails.   So far we have not been able to the use of a tractor donated, so we are seeking for money to rent one. As for the wood chips, we have been very fortunate to have the bulk of them donated by Buena Vista Arbor Care Company. Their donation is a huge contribution to our project," stated Gatherum.

Work parties for the trails are being held two Saturdays a month for a couple of hours. The work sessions are planned for May 5 at 9 a.m. and the work session will meet at River Front Park, and the second is for May 12 at 9 a.m. and will also meet at River Front Park. Anyone interested can email Shaun Gatherum at or call (503) 838-2175 or keep updated at

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