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Speak Up for Trails in Whatcom County

Posted by kkubitza at Feb 15, 2018 07:07 PM |

Want to see more hiking between Bellingham and Mount Baker in the coming years? Attend one of these upcoming meetings and share your thoughts.

Baker to Bellingham courtesy of DNR.jpeg

Between Bellingham and Mount Baker, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources manages a number of public lands. The agency is currently creating a plan for managing and increasing recreation opportunities, including hiking, on those lands for the next 10-15 years.

The plan will shape a sustainable trail system between Mount Baker and Bellingham. Thousands of hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts enjoy the trails in Whatcom County each year. This new trail system could provide access to new adventures. Hikers have consistently told us that they want to see more trails that connect Lake Whatcom and Mount Baker with Bellingham. This project is a critical step in this process.

For two years DNR has worked with a citizen advisory committee, solicited input from the public, and identified constraints and land suitability in order to develop a plan. This process has resulted in two concept maps for the Baker to Bellingham outdoor recreation plan.

WTA’s Involvement

WTA has been involved in the development of the draft recreation concepts. WTA’s Northwest Regional Manager, Arlen Bogaards, serves on the public advisory committee. Throughout this process WTA has recommended that DNR support a trails plan that would provide ample new trail mileage for all trail users while preventing user conflict.

WTA has also worked to increase local trails on county lands around Lake Whatcom. As Washington's population increases — along with demand for high quality outdoor experiences — new trails are essential to making sure everyone has a place to play without loving an area to death.

Attend a Meeting & Speak up for Trails

Next week DNR is holding two public meetings — in Maple Falls and Bellingham — to get input from the public on draft recreation and trail concepts. It’s important that DNR hear from hikers about the future of trails in Whatcom county.

Maple Falls
Feb. 20, 6-8:30 p.m.
East Whatcom Regional Resource Center
8251 Kendall Road

Feb. 21, 6-8:30 p.m.
Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal in the Dome Room
355 Harris Ave.

Attend this DNR meeting to share your thoughts on the draft recreation concepts DNR is considering in the Baker to Bellingham recreation plan.

Here are some suggested talking points:

  • Quality hiking experiences should be an important part of this longterm plan.
  • Include connections to other recreation opportunities such as Lake Whatcom Park and a potential connection to the Pacific Northwest Scenic Trail in the Middle Fork Nooksack valley in the final plan.
  • Develop a variety of trail opportunities, from wide family-friendly trails to rugged "backcountry" experiences that could be found in places like the lower and upper North Fork, Red Mountain and Stewart Mountain areas.
  • Consider hiker only trails for solitude and immersion in nature.
  • Develop safe and accessible trailheads and facilities that minimize user group conflicts.