This past weekend a visitor was found to be driving golf balls off one of the MCR dike trails into the reservoir.  Apparently this not the first time that visitors driving golf balls into MCR has occurred, as we have found litter in the form of golf tees and discarded balls in field areas and along the shoreline of the reservoir.  Please note that this activity is not permitted at Merrill Creek Reservoir and items left behind such as golf balls and tees are considered litter.  What may seem harmless to some by driving a golf ball from our trails/dikes/parking lots into the water, can actually cause serious injury to visitors and staff if they are hit by the ball!  

Additionally, despite the golf balls small size, it’s big pollution. It can take a least one hundred and, in some cases, up to one thousand years for a standard non-biodegradable golf ball to break down.  Additionally, as they do break down, they release heavy metals, various chemicals and microplastics that can negatively plants, wildlife and water quality. In fact, the Danish Golf Union has even got to calling discarded golf balls as “Humanity’s signature litter”. Cruise ships have banned the practice of hitting balls of the deck since the mid-90’s because it is recognized as a form of pollution and litter.

X-Ray of snake that swallowed golf balls (2014-AP)

Lastly, there are many accounts of wildlife dying from ingestion of golf balls when they mistakenly swallowed a golf ball thinking it was an egg.  This has been documented to have occurred in snakes, birds, fish and mammals.

MCR is neither a Golf Course or Driving Range, nor is it a public park.  Please remember that MCR is a private property and our rules and regulations are in place for a reason, so please be familiar with our rules and be considerate and safe when you come to recreate at MCR, as your actions can have an impact on other visitors, wildlife and the ecosystem. Thank you.

Top photo Credit: Eastern Bay Times