Submitted by Brian Prill
For the quiet hamlet of Grand Marais, located on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in what some would call God’s Country (because of its closeness to heaven not because of any particular religious fervor), exciting events are abound. Although it is a small town with a year round population of 350, it is a tourist destination of the first class, boasting a summer population in the thousands that enjoy scenic lake front campgrounds, abundant cabins for rent and access to miles of hiking trails and boating opportunities in the majestic Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. As you can imagine, it is a sportsman’s paradise, and adding to this list of pleasures to be had, will soon be the Upper Peninsula’s first professional disc golf course, eloquently named Superior Pines because of the grandness of some of the old growth white and red pines located throughout the course and also because of its proximity to the largest cleanest great lake in the United States.
Brian Prill and his team of high school students at Burt Township School are developing the course as an Outdoor Adventure Club and Social Studies project. Part of the project is to study the economic impact of diversifying the recreational activities of an area, and of course, to also give residents and tourists an opportunity to play this sport. Money for the course was raised through the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce, Burt Township Board and the Sault Saint Marie Tribe of Chippewa (and a hearty thank you goes out to all three of these organizations for their support). School students in Woodshop this year will make all of the signs on the course and have already helped to clear the trails and fairways. Once spring hits, the next phase of placing baskets and hanging signs will begin. The course is scheduled to open on the 1st of August…if not a little earlier actually, all depending on when the snow melts, which can be an unpredictable thing in the Great White North.
The course will be located in the heart of School Forest, which is a 1,300-acre track of forest that is owned and managed by the school. It is located 3 miles East of Grand Marais on H-58. On top of the old growth pines, and challenging Sucker River shots, it will also be (as far as I know) the only course to also offer players the opportunity to pick and enjoy wild blueberries to quench their hunger as they play.
Be sure to mark your calendar and check the schools website www.grandmaraisschools.org for updates on the progress of the course, and come visit, bring your discs and be prepared to enjoy the most relaxing vacation of your life.