The Ashland community has long turned to local leagues and recreational sports groups for exercise and community building. To keep programs and facilities fresh, creative and enterprising, the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (APRC) and other community groups continually seek out new opportunities for recreation. Over the past few years, new “less traditional” sports have started occupying space in Ashland facilities. Many of these trends — such as ultimate frisbee, pickleball, bike polo and archery — can now be found within a mile or two from your Ashland residence. Some of the options include:
• Bike polo: Held each Monday evening (year-round) at 6 p.m. at the Hunter Park Tennis Courts under the lights. One tennis court is easily converted into a bike polo court for each evening of play. Hunter Park is at 1699 Homes Ave. in Ashland.
• Pickleball: One outdoor court in Lithia Park is designated during certain times and another is located at Helman Elementary School (705 Helman St.) and can be used during non-school hours. Indoor options include the Ashland Family YMCA and the Ashland Tennis & Fitness Club.
• Archery: APRC has an archery program that operates out of The Grove in Ashland (1195 E. Main St.) for ages 8 and up. Instructor Lloyd Canty is a nationally certified instructor; all archery equipment is provided along with instruction. Call APRC at 541-488-5340 for more information or to sign up.
• Ultimate Frisbee: Southern Oregon Ultimate Players Association, soupa.org, has pickup games at North Mountain Park (620 North Mountain Ave.).
• Ice hockey and ice skating: The Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink has implemented the nationally accredited Learn to Skate program with certified instructors to build the necessary skills toward making ice skating a lifelong sport. Programs will be available with the mid-November opening of the Rink in Lithia Park, 95 Winburn Way. Visit our website at ashland.or.us/icerink for more information.
• Ping Pong: Bring your own paddle and ball, then come play Ping Pong with a friend at our outdoor cement ping pong tables located in Hunter Park and at The Grove.
• Oak Knoll Golf Course: Come play Golf and FootGolf at your municipal golf course at 3070 Highway 66 in Ashland. What is FootGolf? It’s a growing sport that combines soccer and golf. Oak Knoll has a 9-hole FootGolf course that keeps groups in the same flow as regular golfers. The concept is the same as golf: Try to get your soccer ball into the cup with as few kicks as possible. This is a great activity for all ages and groups! Call the Oak Knoll Golf Course at 541-482-4311 to book your tee-time.
• Skate Park: Bring your own skateboard and helmet or trick bike (without pegs) and have some fun at the Ashland Skate Park, located at 100 Water Street. The park was upgraded several years ago with a new drinking fountain, park bench, rule signboard and bowl drain.
• Adaptive Recreation: Adapted Programs through APRC are specifically designed for people with developmental, intellectual or physical disabilities. Programs are held at The Grove and at the Ashland Senior Center (1699 Homes Ave.). The programs focus on each individual’s personal abilities and interests. Instructor Serena Hoke holds an M.S. degree in Adapted Physical Activity. Programs such as Friday night socials, karate, creative dance and group bowling are just a few of the many opportunities. Call APRC at 541-488-5340 for more information.
• BMX Bike Park: Come with your own equipment, including a BMX bike and helmet, and enjoy the facilities provided by APRC that are located adjacent to the Ashland Dog Park/Bear Creek Greenway (75 W. Nevada St.).
As you can see, the Ashland community has something to offer everyone, regardless of age, ability or time commitment.
—Rachel Dials is recreation superintendent for Ashland Parks & Recreation.