Aspen Lakes Golf Course believes in sustainability

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A Canadian goose and her goslings on the 11th hole at Aspen Lakes Golf Course. Photo by Aspen Lakes

Aspen Lakes Golf Course takes sustainability seriously. After all, without a healthy environment the beauty for which Aspen Lakes is known would not be possible.

That extends to the judicious way Aspen Lakes uses its water, meticulously manages the fertilizer and chemicals needed to promote healthy turf, and provides a safe habitat for wildlife. For instance, Aspen Lakes uses a computerized irrigation system that precisely manages and minimizes the amount of water that is spread on the golf course.

“You only use the bare minimum for what you need,” says Matt Cyrus, co-owner of Aspen Lakes and a member of one of Deschutes County’s oldest farming families. “We’re not going to waste it. And on the golf course, wildlife is part of the amenity golfers come to see. We do what we can to protect it.”

What does this look like in real terms? For one, Aspen Lakes has participated in the Deschutes River Conservancy’s instream leasing program for Whychus Creek by leasing 50 acres of water back to the Conservancy. The additional flows into the creek “improve water quality, maintain riparian areas, support wildlife, recreation, and fish — including reintroduced steelhead,” according to the Deschutes River Conservancy.

This is nothing new for Aspen Lakes, which has participated in Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs to restore fish habitat along Whychus Creek for years. Instead of receiving payment for the lease back to Deschutes River Conservancy, Aspen Lakes has renewed its agreement to donate the funds to the Sisters School District to offset what the School District would have to pay to lease its water. That donation offsets the School District’s groundwater mitigation payment by $1,249.75 per year, according to the Deschutes River Conservancy.

“We want to help with the stream flows and the fish reintroduction,” Cyrus says. “And we’ve always done what we could to help the Sisters School District. And this is just one more way to help them.”

Of course, this is not all Aspen Lakes does to help foster a healthy environment. The scene around the 11th green can be breathtaking. Just this morning a family of goslings were spotted out roaming the pond near the 11th green. Nearby a Trumpeter swan sits on an egg. In addition, Aspen Lakes has been home to great horned owls, red-winged blackbirds, and wood ducks. Ospreys and bald eagles have also been known to visit Aspen Lakes, hunting for fish in the course’s many ponds.

“The course has become almost a birder’s paradise with all the habitat we have created,” Cyrus says. “We have a complete, natural ecosystem that has developed on the course. “We have some pretty significant habitat that we work to protect,” Cyrus adds.

Yes, Aspen Lakes is proud of its environmental stewardship and the golf course is committed to fostering a healthy environment moving forward. It is what makes Aspen Lakes such a special place here in Central Oregon.

Experience it yourself with early season rates that last through June 9 at Aspen Lakes. A golfer can play 18 holes at Aspen Lakes for as low as $39. To book a tee time, call 541-549-GOLF or book online at www.aspenlakes.com.

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