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Damage from Ship Creek on Eagleglen Golf Course on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Oct. 2, 2012. Damage from winds and flooding have damaged the golf courses on JBER and left it as a "September to remember." (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf)
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Bad weather could end up costing JBER morale programs

Posted 10/9/2012   Updated 10/9/2012 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
JBER Public Affairs

10/9/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Wind gusts and flooding have defined September for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. With Ship creek running right through the golf courses and trees everywhere, the potential for damage is very high.

"It's been a September to remember because we had a severe wind storm that came through here and devastated the golf course as far as knocking down lots of trees, ripping up our tents, and causing considerable damage," said Mark Dolejsi, 673d Force Support Squadron's Eagleglen Golf Course manager. "Following that, Sept. 24, and the heavy rains and initial flooding closed us down again."

Dolejsi said wind took down hundreds of trees between the two courses, but it wasn't just the wind damage that affects the golf course.

"The flood damage is specifically all along the corridor for Ship Creek but to the left side of the 14th green, it has effectively removed about the size of a football field worth of material and cut a new channel and what was removed included about 95 percent of the 15th tee and approach to the tee," Dolejsi said.

The damage wasn't just specific to the Eagleglen Golf Course, but also affected the Moose Run Golf Course.

"We lost our number three bridge on the creek course which is key to get across from hole two to three and 16 to 17," Amy Sexton, 673d FSS Moose Run Golf Course business manager. "We also had about 450 trees blown over on both courses earlier in the month," Sexton said.

The creek eroded a lot of the banks on both sides where the bridge connected.
"The creek became wider, so the bridge that existed before would no longer fit because of how wide [the creek] is," Sexton said.

Assessment of the damage is being made and plans to move forward to do repairs are in the process also.

"We have talked to different folks here on base and we estimate that we are well into the millions worth of damage," Dolejsi said.

"We are just in a holding pattern and there are a lot of people working on it," Sexton said.
Damage to the golf courses affects more than just the people that play golf.

"The golf facilities on JBER and the outdoor recreation facilities generate a tremendous amount of revenue and some of that goes into the general fund and helps support other activities that FSS provides," Dolejsi said. "And when that revenue drops, which it has this year, there is less of that money available for distribution."

Even though the damage looks gloomy, Dolejsi has a positive outlook for the future.
"We probably will have a couple years of work ahead of us, in stages," Dolejsi said. "Overall, we will survive and I anticipate we will be open again next spring and we will make the changes we need to make."

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