SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico State Land Office (SLO) and Western New Mexico University (WNMU) recently signed final lease paperwork to allow the University to begin designing plans for the development, management, and upkeep of an 18-hole tournament-ready disc golf course in Silver City. The lease to WNMU encompasses approximately 135 acres of state trust land known as Maude’s Canyon, located east of the Ben Altamirano Sports Complex.
The SLO exists to raise revenue for New Mexico public schools, hospitals, and state universities, including WNMU. The SLO estimates that the disc golf course will raise an additional $1,500 annually for New Mexico public schools on land that is currently unleased.
“Our Open for Adventure campaign is seeing results. The Maude’s Canyon disc golf course will establish a recreational asset for Silver City, and the entire south west corner of the state, that does not currently exist,” Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard said.
“We were so proud to work with WNMU – one of the beneficiaries that we work on behalf of – to make this course a reality.”
With guidance from WNMU Natural Sciences faculty members, the university’s Geographic Information System students will design the course, working with the SLO and local residents to determine ideal specifications and ensure the protection of wildlife corridors and other natural features.
“By leasing this land for and involving students in the creation of a disc golf course, Western New Mexico University is developing more opportunities for the community to recreate outside,” said Kathy Whiteman, Ph.D., who is WNMU Natural Sciences Department Chair and Director of the WNMU Center for a Sustainable Future and Outdoor Programs.
This partnership is the result of conversations WNMU is leading around greenspace usage for the advancement of a sustainable and connected community.
“You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have a high level of fitness to be a contender in disc golf, making the sport accessible for people who live locally and for visitors to Silver City,” Whiteman said.
The SLO advertised for and held a virtual public meeting on May 20, 2021, in order to gather feedback from the community prior to approving the lease. The public engagement process also included a 60-day public comment period and conversations with local elected officials.
WNMU now begins the process of designing a plan for the course and a parking lot, for SLO consideration. In approving final plans, the SLO and appropriate staff will be involved to assure the course avoids any ground disturbance of biologically or culturally significant areas or properties. The final design will be presented to the public at a future public meeting.