Evo Build Day on 2/20

treelines shirt

Upcoming Build Day on February 20th on Evolution, sponsored by Tree Lines Northwest!

Advocacy Alert! Help Save 1,600 Acres on Blanchard Mountain

In 2007, the DNR, along with recreation and conservation groups worked out an agreement that would set aside 1,600 acres on Blanchard Mountain from any future logging.  An integral part of that agreement was to secure funding to purchase similar lands near Blanchard to reimburse the trusts (which support Skagit and Burlington-Edison schools) and to ensure those lands remain as working forests.

The time frame to secure funding for the the Blanchard Forest Strategy Agreement (see below for more information) that would protect 1,600 core acres on Blanchard Mountain recently expired.   This core area includes the Oyster Dome, Lily and Lizard Lakes, and Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail.

To date, the legislature has supported Blanchard with $6.5 million; however, an additional $7.7 million is needed to complete the purchases of core zone replacement lands. If DNR does not receive this funding now, the integrity of the Agreement will be gone and the Strategy will no longer be implementable. Years of partnership and the shared vision for the forest will be lost.  The DNR is committed to implement the Strategy but will not be able to do so without the remaining $7.7 million from the legislature. Without your help, the future of the core 1,600 acres on Blanchard Mountain is uncertain as much of it  will return to active forest lands.  Read more about the agreement in the DNR’s fact sheet.

TO HELP SAVE BLANCHARD’S CORE 1,600 ACRES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS BY FEBRUARY 10TH AND URGE THEM TO FULLY FUND THE BLANCHARD FOREST STRATEGY AGREEMENT.  To find your district, you can search here.

40th Legislative District:

Email Senator Kevin Ranker or call (360) 786 – 7678

Email Representative Kristine Lytton or call (360) 786 – 7800

Email Representative Jeff Morris or call (360) 786 – 7970

42nd Legislative District:

Email Senator Doug Ericksen or call (360) 786 – 7682

Email Representative Vincent Buys or call (360) 786 – 7854

Email Represenative Luanne Van Werven or call (360) 786 – 7980

Chairs of the Respective Capital Budget Committee

Email Representative Steve Tharinger (24th Legislative District) or call (360) 786 – 7904

Email Senator Jim Honeyford (15th Legislative District) or call (360) 786 – 7684

Additional Ranking Members on Capital Budget Committee

Email Representative Derek Stanford (1st Legislative District) or call (360) 786 – 7928

Email Senator Karen Keiser (33rd Legislative District) or call (360) 786 – 7664


Suggested Comments (personalize and share your own experience):

  • Blanchard Mountain is a unique forest and one of the most beloved places in Puget Sound with amazing access for recreation with great proximity to Larrabee State Park and Whatcom County parks lands.
  • The Blanchard Forest Strategy Agreement is a good solution for recreation, conservation, natural resource industries, and the local economy.
  • Please fund the Blanchard Forest Strategy Agreement with the remaining $7.7 million needed to protect all 1,600 acres in the CORE area.

Blanchard Forest Strategy Agreement Background

Blanchard Mountain is beloved and well-used for recreation, respite, and exploration. It separates the increasingly populated Skagit and Whatcom counties. Tens of thousands of people visit Blanchard’s trails each year to ride horses, hang glide, hike, mountain bike and watch birds and other wildlife. The hike to the Oyster Dome is one of the most popular in all of Puget Sound and you can see lines of cars parked along Chuckanut Drive every day of the year.

Blanchard Mountain is also very special natural habitat. It features lakes and rivers with a native run of salmon and sea run cutthroat trout in Oyster Creek; owls, murrelets and woodpeckers; the famous bat caves, deer; mushrooms; and territorial views to the San Juan Islands and to Mount Baker and the Cascades. Remnants of old growth and stately, mature trees remain or have naturally regenerated. This type of forest is quickly disappearing in the low elevations of Western Washington. Blanchard Mountain is the only place along Washington’s Coast where the forested Cascades connect to salt water.

Blanchard Mountain is one of many valuable state trust lands – public forests managed by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR had planned to log the entire mountain in order to provide revenue to its beneficiaries which include Skagit County and the Burlington-Edison School District. Providing revenue to the beneficiaries is required by law thus for years DNR did not believe it had any options. But many of us wanted to protect Blanchard and its forests. Others were concerned about losing the forestry base locally and thus were not supportive of large-scale conservation of Blanchard. After years of discussions and threats, DNR came up with a solution. In 2006, the DNR convened a group of diverse interests, including Skagit Land Trust, Conservation Northwest, The Back Country Horsemen, Friends of Blanchard Mountain, Skagit County as well as highly-regarded representatives from Industry, Forestry and local communities in Skagit County. DNR asked this group to create a management plan for Blanchard’s forests that could satisfy the needs of all with interests at stake. It took two years of hard work and the result was the 2008 Blanchard Strategies Group Agreement.

This collaborative agreement recommended that a 1,600 acre core area be permanently protected. This core protects most of the recreational and sensitive natural resources such as the top of Blanchard including the Oyster Dome, trails, Lily and Lizard lakes and oldest forest habitat. The other two thirds of Blanchard were to remain working forest. Meanwhile, to replace the core, DNR with assistance from the Strategies Group was to seek funding from the WA State Legislature to purchase nearby private forestland that are at risk of conversion to residential use. These replacement lands would be used for continued forest activities. The concept was that this would protect the sensitive core of Blanchard, enable the trust beneficiaries to continue receiving revenue, and ensure retention of timber jobs. The MOU gave 5 years to satisfy this agreement, later updated to 7 years due to the Economic downturn.

The Public Land Commissioner at the time, Doug Sutherland, accepted the recommendations and the Washington State Legislature has shown their support over the course of four legislative sessions by providing $6.5 million of the $12 million (now $14.2 million due to inflation and updated timber appraisals) in appropriations necessary to fund the replacement land purchases. Since 2008, the Blanchard Strategies Group have continued to work with the Legislature to ensure the fiscal needs of the Agreement are fulfilled.

Upcoming Trail Days

Sunday January 31st Irish Death and Evo Trailday sponsored by Iron Horse Brewing and the WMBC

Sunday, January 31  – Grasshopper sponsored by Manual Mike
Saturday, February 13
– Grasshopper sponsored by Manual Mike
Sunday, February 21
– Grasshopper sponsored by Manual Mike
Saturday, March 5
– Grasshopper sponsored by Manual Mike
Sunday, March 13
– Grasshopper sponsored by Manual Mike

Advocacy Alert! Give the DNR your input!

 

DNR_Land_Whatcom_County

DNR managed lands in Whatcom County (Dark Green).

Hi everyone!

This past week, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) kicked off two public meetings to gather feedback about recreation on DNR lands in Whatcom County.  Both were extremely well attended by all user groups (with 300 in Bellingham & 150 in Lynden) and were standing room only events.  The DNR is trying to address the glaring lack of authorized recreation in Whatcom County.  Brock Millern, Jean Fike, Chris Hankey and Dana Leavitt from the DNR gave a fairly brief presentation that you can read here:    https://kevinmenard.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/dnr_whatcom_county_rec_planning_meeting_january_2016.pdf

How can you get involved?

  1. Email the DNR your input (BakertoBellingham@dnr.wa.gov  ) which will ensure you are on their email list.  See below for more info.
  2. There will be 3 more public meetings that will happen during the various phases of the process that you should plan to attend.
  3. There will be a committee of 12-15 people from the various user groups that will help guide the process with DNR staff.  If you’ve got the time, knowledge and passion, you need to apply by January 29th.   To learn more about the time commitment, look at slide #22 in the DNR presentation linked above.
  4. The committee will be meeting 12-14x and those meetings are open to the public, but they are working meetings, so the public can only comment at the end of those meetings.  The first meeting is on March 8th at Rome Grange Hall.
  5. Last, you can keep up to date on this process by visiting the DNR’s website at:  http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BakertoBellingham

How long will the planning process take?

This planning will take 2 years and will go through a 7 phase process.  After planning, determining funding (via grants) will happen next, so this is definitely a marathon and not a sprint.

What will happen to  the current user-built trail networks?

There will be a full suitability study to look at many factors involving both existing and potential future trail locations like:  Slope stability, wetlands and critical areas, habitat and wildlife, access points, adjacent land owners, conditions of existing trails, etc.  Those suitability studies will assess what areas can sustain the various types of recreation.

Give your input:

Beyond what the DNR asked at the stations (see below), please include how you recreate on DNR lands and elsewhere whether that be on wheels (motorized or non), foot, hoof,  snowmobile, boat, camping, hunting, fishing, etc.  Additionally, if you recreate (currently or previously) on trails on DNR lands, be sure to let them know where as well.  The DNR is well aware of the various trail networks, so it will not come to their surprise where folks are riding bikes.

Other things the WMBC would like to suggest:

  • Varying levels of trails from beginner to expert.
  • Multi-use and single-use options where they make sense.
  • Looking at the “ascend only” designation for mt. bikes for heavy multi-use areas (specific trailheads).
  • Downhill/descending route options where they make sense.
  • Destinations, viewpoints and other interesting features.
  • An authorized downhill trail network with shuttle access.
  • Trail connectivity between trail networks – where possible.
  • Loops are preferable when possible.  Stacked loops are ideal for networks that cater to wide ranges of abilities/fitness.

The  4 Listening stations at the meetings covered the following topics:

Station 1: RECREATING IN THE FOREST

  • What do you like about recreating in the Baker to Bellingham recreation area?
  • What is your favorite place to visit?
  • What is missing from your recreation experience?

Station 2: RECREATION TOPICS FOR CONSIDERATION

  • Do you have any concerns about the future recreation management or the planning process?
  • Are there areas of environmental concern?
  • Are there concerns about impacts to private property?

Station 3: ACCESSING THE FOREST

  • Where do you go to get onto DNR land?
  • Do you access other public lands from DNR lands? If so, where?

Station 4: PARTNERSHIPS/OPPORTUNITIES

  • What opportunities are there for partnerships with communities, other land agencies?
  • What opportunities are there for landscape connections with other lands-county, state & federal?

Thanks to everyone for participating in this process.  You input will be critical ensuring its success!

 

DNR Meeting Notes

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There was a great showing at the DNR meeting tonight and an even representation of both motorized and non-motorized user groups.   The meeting started with a brief introduction explaining the purpose of DNR, the development of the trail policy, and the estimated timeline for the regional planning in Whatcom County.  Following the intro was a long open session where people were encouraged to walk from station to station and answer a few questions to help with the planning process for Whatcom County.  If you didn’t make it to the meeting, here are a few questions asked at each station that may help you write your email to the DNR.   They’re also hoping establish a diverse trail planning committee so send them your resume and explanation as to why you’d be a good candidate if you’re interested.

Please e-mail  BakertoBellingham@dnr.wa.gov  if you have further questions regarding the planning committee or want to submit your thoughts and opinions regarding how you’d like to see official recreation established on our local DNR land.  There will be more meetings in the future so stay tuned!  http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BakertoBellingham

 

Station 1: RECREATING IN THE FOREST

  • What do ou like about recreating in the Baker to Bellingham recreation area?
  • What is your favorite place to visit?
  • What is missing from your recreation experience?

Station 2: RECREATION TOPICS FOR CONSIDERATION

  • Do you have any concerns about the future recreation management of the planning process?
  • Are there areas of environmental concern?
  • Are there concerns about impacts to private property?

Station 3: ACCESSING THE FOREST

  • Where do you go to get onto DNR land?
  • Do you access other public lands from DNR lands? If so, where?

Station 4: PARTNERSHIPS/OPPORTUNITIES

  • What opportunities are there for partnerships with communities, other land agencies?
  • What opportunities are there for landscape connections with other lands-county, state & federal?

High School Mountain Bike League

Calling all high schoolers in Whatcom County (grades 9-12).  The High School Mountain Bike League is starting up soon.  It’s a great way to meet new people to ride with, ride new places that you may not have known about, and of course become a better rider.  Check out the flyer for more information.

There’s also a coach/volunteer meeting on Thursday, January 28th.

Please contact Becca Margulies at 541-261-1225 , becca@bexdsgn.com or WhatcomHS@washingtonleague.org  for more information

LeaguePoster 2016

Whatcom County DNR Planning Meeting

Folks,

if this isn’t on your radar yet, it should be. It won’t be an overnight process, but it could result in some really good recreation options for Whatcom County residents (not to mention tourism). There are two meetings on the 19th and 20th of this month. http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BakertoBellingham

Open Houses
Tuesday, Jan. 19
7 to 9 p.m.
Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal
Dome Room
355 Harris Ave.
Bellingham, WA 98225
Wednesday, Jan. 20
7 to 9 p.m.
Lynden Community Center
401 Grover Street
Lynden, WA 98264

– See more at: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/BakertoBellingham#sthash.gYCXgzfR.dpuf

Support the WMBC! It’s easy!

HeaderCollage

Hello trail users! 

It’s impressive the impact that one employee and an army of dedicated volunteers can have on our community. In 2015, we continued to elevate our stewardship of Galbraith Mountain (again ranked #1 in Washington by Singletracks.com), the Civic Dirt Jumps and new trail construction on Chuckanut Mountain. Galbraith now has a network of beginner level trails in the Lost Giants zone and Larrabee State park has its first continuous top to bottom trail that bikers can shuttle.

With our great relationships with our local land managers, combined with our volunteer muscle and expertise, we continue to take leading roles in trail expansion in Whatcom County. One of the highlights has been our pivotal role in support of the future 8,800 acre Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain Trail Networks – all within riding distance from town!

Our education programs have been expanding as we continue to provide professional training to parents and teachers to become bike guides, instructors and volunteers for our six afterschool programs (there’s more to come next year!) We also partnered with Chris Mellick from RRAD (Ride Run and Dig) to bring Bike Rodeos to all 14 elementary schools and provide middle school and high school service learning projects out on the trails.

These exciting projects are just a fraction of what the WMBC has been working on and, with your support; we’ll continue to lead the way in creating world-class recreation in Whatcom County.

Become a Supporter

We’re kicking off our annual drive this week and we invite you to become a WMBC supporter for as little as $25 a year. Without our generous supporters and volunteers, the work we plan to do in 2016 and beyond is simply not possible. Below is a list of some of our current advocacy projects.

  • Secure recreation on Galbraith Mountain FOREVER and develop a skills area, parking, and a place to host events.
  • Creating pump tracks and skill zones in city parks.
  • Working with US Forest Service to re-route Canyon Ridge Trail.
  • DNR trail planning process to establish authorized trails in Whatcom County.
  • Expand youth education and riding programs.

Two Ways to Give
Click here to donate with Paypal or download our mail in form to pay with a check or credit card.

With your support, the WMBC will be able to continue developing trail networks that will enhance Whatcom County residents’ quality of life by providing a better place to play for people of all ages.
Sincerely,

Barbsig

Barbara Karabin, President

 

 

 

 

DNR Trail Planning Meeting is set for Whatcom County

DNR

The DNR Trail Planning meetings have been set for Whatcom County

Bellingham’s Planning Meeting:

Tuesday January 19th at 7pm to 10pm
Located in the Dome Room in the Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal on 1801 Roeder Ave 98225

Lynden’s Planning Meeting:  

Wednesday January 20th at 7pm to 10pm
Lynden Community/Senior Center 401 Grover St. Lynden, WA 98264

Planning for recreation in DNR’s northwestern forests DNR is embarking on a new planning project that will guide recreation on DNR-managed lands from the three forks of the Nooksack River to western Lake Whatcom for the next ten to 15 years. The plan will help DNR ensure recreation on DNR-managed lands in the Whatcom County area is fun and sustainable for years to come.

Reconveyance: Your Voice is Needed

Stewart and Lookout Mountains flanking Lake Whatcom

Hi all,

First off, we’d like to thank everyone who has attended the reconveyance park planning meetings, written email responses or done both.  It’s obvious that the mountain bike community is passionate about trails in this park and our numbers and well-crafted letters reflect it.  More than 51% of people who have provided feedback (so far) are mountain bikers and if you looked around the room at every meeting, we have been well represented.  Now is not the time to slack off….please send the parks department your feedback!  The deadline is technically November 29th but we’re working on getting an extension.   parks@co.whatcom.wa.us

If you’ve not had a chance to review the Park’s DRAFT plan, it has made great strides in addressing many issues like various trail types, single-use and directional trails and incorporating user-built trails where they make sense.  It also has a good balance for protecting our watershed. You can see the full plan here:  http://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/13419

There are two issues in the DRAFT that we find as important and worth addressing. The plan doesn’t include trails in the Repeater Road area of Lookout Mountain and or Surfin’ Turf trail on Stewart Mountain.

Repeater Road (Access and trails):
There are currently 3 user-built trails that are extremely popular – despite the very steep climb.  One issue is access to this area because Repeater Road goes through Sudden Valley – which is private land.  The WMBC is working with Parks department to figure out solutions for access and work with the Sudden Valley Homeowners Association.  We have scouted a Repeater Road to Lookout Road connector which is viable.  There are also issues with having trails exit to Lake Whatcom Boulevard, however, there are possibilities for climbing trails and potential parking at the southern end of the park’s property.

Surfin’ Turf Trail:
This trail was the 2nd most mentioned trail behind Cougar Ridge and is the type of trail that people come to Bellingham to ride.  We presented the parks department with routing adjustments and solutions to address their concerns almost 2 years ago and we still believe those suggested changes are viable.  In the past meeting, there were 117 people that asked the park to incorporate user built trails into the park plan and this is one that many people have expressed a lot of concern about losing.

If these two items or others are important to you, please email the park and let them know that you’d like them to work to figure out solutions to these issues.    parks@co.whatcom.wa.us

We’d also like to let you know that we are pleased with the Whatcom County Parks staff.  They have sat down with our board to learn about the bike community’s needs and work closely with our Trail Director.  We’re excited for the opportunity to work together with the parks and also other user groups to develop a trail plan that includes mountain bike trails from the beginning of the planning process.  The latest draft reflects that the park staff has been listening.  There’s just that last couple of items that we’re working through.

Cheers,

WMBC Board

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