After the US Open (it ain’t pretty)

If you’ll recall, the husband and I had an opportunity to go to the US Open at Chambers Bay Golf Course back in June. Last weekend we decided to head back to Chambers Bay (for the first time since then) for a walk.  The area immediately surrounding the golf course is owned and maintained by Pierce County Parks & Recreation.  There’s a nice 3+ mile trail that circles the entire course, there’s a large grassy area down by the water that’s a favorite of picnickers and frolickers, and there’s a large playground on the North end, with another large grassy area.

When the husband and I were there for the Open we suspected that there would be some recovery needed after-the-fact.  I mean, really, they built a city.  There were massive tents and other structures.  There were gravel paths and paved paths that had not been there previously.  Grass was thoroughly trampled.  We got that.  However, we weren’t expecting what we saw today.  It looks like crap.

After the US Open, Cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com
With the exception of the parking lot on the right (near the trees) this used to be the Central Meadow. A large expanse of grass that went all the way to the water. Note the expanse of asphalt that goes vertically across the middle of the photo. That was the main entrance with all of the building and pretty flowers. Flowers no more.

It must be noted that we only saw the park from a distance (though we did both find it interesting that they’ve totally greened up the greens since after the Open…and I remember that being one of the complaints of the players:  that the course was made more difficult by the dry conditions.  Well, it’s nice and green now!  But, you also have to be willing to pay $200+ for the honor of playing on the course.  It was pretty empty this morning.)  Only the top part of the path is open.  The entire bottom section and the sides is closed down and fenced off.  Apparently they want to keep people out while working on restoration efforts.  And what an effort it will be.

After the US Open, Cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Some of the pictures will help you understand what I’m talking about when I say “top part”.   You see, this area (until it was converted into a golf course, was an old abandoned gravel pit.  The course and much of the park sits down in the old pit area. The walking/jogging path goes across the rim of the old pit, drops down a hill on either side and winds down to the Sound.

After the US Open, Cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Pierce County has detailed their plans for restoration here .  It’s a lofty goal.  The two parks, that on the North end and down at the Central Meadow, are shells of what they used to be.  Take a look of the picture of the husband and I on the banner of this post. Note that the area is paved and the flower beds are beautiful.  This was the main entrance to the event.  We had a difficult time figuring out exactly where it landed in the park while we were there, but figured they would leave the beds and the statue and build it into the park once the event was over.  No.  They did not.

After the US Open, Cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com
This used to be the lush, grassy area at the North End park. Lovely, yes?

Turns out all of that paved area is flat splat in the middle of the Central Meadow.  It’s still there.  But, it looks like they ripped out all of the flower beds and the statue and it’s just a paved strip in the middle of what was once a grassy expanse. Perhaps they’ll rip out the asphalt and restore the grass?  We can only hope.

Trail closed.
Trail closed.

So, yeah, this is me bitching.  I know it was a huge event.  I’m sure it was a boost for the economy.  I’m sure Pierce County got paid a whole lot of money.  And I’m hopeful that their restoration efforts will be a success.  Perhaps “hopeful” is a strong word, at this point.

Note the large debris pile.  I suspect this might be remnants of some of the temporary buildings.
Note the large debris pile. I suspect this might be remnants of some of the temporary buildings.

Sigh.

After the US Open, Cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

The husband and I agreed that we will go check it out again in September. We’re….guardedly optimistic.

Oh, and if it feels like my exposures are a little…iffy…they probably are.  This would be me…learning manual mode while trying to walk.  Now that’s a challenge.  🙂

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