MADISON (WKOW) - Madison Parks Department is declaring a "turf emergency". Officials have told their biggest summer turf users to cancel games-- ultimate frisbee and adult soccer leagues. Now, organizers face some scheduling challenges.
Madison's park fields are normally filled with hundreds of players from leagues like the Madison Ultimate Frisbee Association (MUFA). MUFA's summer league has 3,600 members. 1,800 people play every night on Madison and Fitchburg city fields-- that's 60 games a night.
But not this week-- all scheduled games and practices have been suspended until further notice thanks to the drought.
"The turf conditions are extremely, extremely dry, and so if there's extended play on our athletic fields or in our parks it could kill the grass," says Laura Whitmore, from the parks department.
MUFA organizers say many players are disappointed to lose a week of games-- but understanding.
"They've been pretty cooperative and I think they understand why the city had to cancel our games," says Sue Decicco.
Sports groups pay $42 to rent a park for the night. MUFA typically rents 11 parks every day. Luckily, those fees are refunded in the event of rain-- or in this case, a lack of rain. But the cancellations are causing some scheduling problems right at the end of the summer league, two weeks before playoffs.
Organizers say they're not quite sure yet how their season will play out-- they're just going to have to wait and see what the parks department decides about next week.
"If we don't get the fields back next week, it will be problematic as far as having a regular season and standings and all that," says organizer Matt Merrill.
Parks officials will re-evaluate conditions next week, to determine whether MUFA and soccer leagues will be allowed back out on the fields. For now, they're hoping other park users are extra careful on the turf during the drought too, but they're not calling off youth soccer or other sporting events like softball.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Madison Parks is asking soccer and ultimate Frisbee players to temporarily suspend their games and practices at city parks due to the dry conditions.
Officials say that kind of overuse could kill the grass, impacting future use of the field or park.
The department says it will continue to monitor and review the park use and conditions.