After the heavy rainfall in May, local golf courses have suffered from soggy greens and unexpected closures, while some mountain bike trails have yet to open.
Saukie and Highland Springs golf courses in Rock Island were only closed a few days because of wet conditions. They have end-to-end golf cart paths, allowing the courses to remain open even in soggy conditions, Rock Island Parks & Recreation director John Gripp said.
“We put a lot of time and effort into repairing and adding a lot of drainage to our golf courses, and it’s really paid off, but when you get that amount of rain, there’s not much you can do,” Gripp said. “Once the water table is full, it’s full.”
Revenue at the courses is down because of the conditions. To save money, employees were sent home if there was no work to do, Gripp said. Although May's lost revenue can’t be made up, the courses will control staffing levels and manage expenses for the rest of the year, he said.
The courses also host a variety of special events this time of year, and a number of new golf leagues have been put together this year, Gripp said.
“We’re not just looking at cutting the expense; we’re also looking at where are the other potentials for revenue generation,” Gripp said.
Trails at Stephen’s Park in Moline have remained closed since May 17 because of continuing wet conditions. Trails at Sunderbruch Park in Davenport and Sylvan Island in Moline are open, but cyclists should use caution on the trails because of fallen trees and debris.
In Stephen’s Park, some trails, depending on the elevation, have experienced rutting causing them to be unusable, Moline Parks & Recreation director Lori Wilson said in an email. Some trails on Sylvan Island have also been closed because of Mississippi River flooding, she said.
The trails in Sunderbruch Park have seen extensive damage, with parts being lost to landslides, said Drew Hanson, QC Friends of Off-Road Cycling webmaster and trail steward for Illiniwek Forest Preserve and Dorrance Forest Preserve.
The soil at Sunderbruch Park is clay-like and water-absorbent and can’t handle the amount of rain the area has experienced, creating erosion and landslides, Hanson said.
The trails at Sylvan Island are made of gravel, allowing water to seep through. But with the close proximity to the Mississippi River, Sylvan Island flooded, causing trails to be covered by feet of water, Hanson said.
It usually takes a few days after it rains for the trails to dry out, but there hasn’t been much time for that this season, Hanson said. As they can, volunteers from QC Friends of Off-Road Cycling are fixing damaged areas so they can be opened again, he said.
“We have hundreds of hours’ worth of repairs to make to the trails since there are six or seven parks that we maintain,” Hanson said.