Approached by a local track club after a disc golf association had written a sharply negative editorial to the newspaper regarding their perception of the track club’s role in serving as a blocking party to their goal of developing a disc golf course in a park shared by runners, cyclists, and other recreational activities.
SCI conducted intake interviews with all of the identified stakeholder groups and key individuals in the two organizations most prominently engaged in the conflict over the use of the trail and surrounding area. The initial assessment revealed that the conflict had escalated to primarily rights and power-based processes with both sides mobilizing their constituents and political connects to frame the other as having very poor intentions with regards to the trail use. There was a clear need to de-escalated and arrange for a neutral, mediated session to bring it back to the interest-based approach needed. It became clear that there were a number of shared interests around safety, trail stewardship, course design, and communication that provided optimism for the impact of a mediated session.
Mediated with all key stakeholders after a follow-up preparation session with each group. The session proved extremely productive in airing grievances and allowing the heightened emotions to diffuse and then to shift to a highly constructive dialogue around a number of issues each side needed collaboration in order to support moving forward. Agreement was reached on all issues and then a plan to align back tables and the political entities toward this agreement was planned and implemented.
Course was built according to plan with no negative impact on runners and a high use rate for the disc golf community. This course had been the dream of disc golfers for over 15 years and they have become a strong ally for the running community in trail stewardship and safety of the surrounding area.