Our members are what drive the WMBC!
Without our community’s financial and volunteer support, we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do. To learn more about what we did in 2018 and are planning in 2019, you can read our annual report here.
Angi Weston gets to coach and ride bikes all over the world, yet she believes Bellingham has the best trails and community anywhere! Thanks for always sharing your stoke and supporting the WMBC, Angi!
Learn more about Angi and why she supports the WMBC here.
Zoae Spackman and her husband, Peter, made the conscious decision to raise 3 very active boys in Bellingham where easy access to trails was a major factor in their decision.
Beyond being a dedicated wife and mom, Zoae mentors/coaches kids for March Northwest and leads the WMBC Joyriders – Women’s Mountain Bike Club. To say that Zoae is a champion for getting people out on bikes would be a huge understatement!
Learn more about why the Spackman’s support the WMBC!
Mark Belles is a long-time trail builder and supporter of the WMBC. He’s often out doing the thankless tasks of brushing, drainage work and rebuilding trail after timber harvest.
In recent years, he’s also funneled his creative energy into the many trail signs that help make Galbraith unique & beloved! Thanks Mark for all you do!
Jessica and Byron Cleary came to Bellingham on a roadtrip and instantly fell in love with our special community and easy access to trails. Two months later, they decided this is where they wanted to raise their kids, so they could play outside more as a family.
You’ve likely run into them towing Marco and Matteo on their bikes up Galbraith, helping out on a trailday, riding on Karma trail or at the Whatcom Falls pump track. In a short time, they’ve become a great part of our community and are helping instill the love for the outdoors and stewardship to the next gen in the process.
Thanks for supporting the WMBC, Cleary’s!
WMBC-YTC: Youth Trail Corps
Ever wondered about how the trails you ride your mountain bike on Galbraith get built and maintained? Interested in getting to know a great group of kids and accruing community/service learning hours? WMBC’s YTC program is here for you! YTC was formed over 2 years ago and we are now going into our 3rd season.
The Youth Trail Corp crew has done great work adopting Galbraith Mountain’s TAP trail: Cheech and Chongs’ Wild Ride. Many hours of sweat equity went into improving this trail last season. The kids were integrally involved in planning, reshaping of jumps, helping design, build and install the new wood berm which created an extension of the rock berm, installation of culverts, drainage, removal of old wood features, brushing and more.
Photo courtesy of Eric Ashley
YTC is all about: Trail Science and the art of building and maintaining a good trail, having fun outside, tool safety and maintenance, learning about and adhering to IMBA and WORCA Trail standards, native plant Identification, teamwork, building wooden features, spending all day outside in all kinds of weather, cooking outside and a host of other topics that are integral to being a proficient trail builder, (not to mention the hot cocoa!) Our 2018-19 season will continue with a total of at least 9 planned trail days through the spring for the 2 separate groups this year.
YTC “Alders” Middle School Group Trail Dates: October 20 and November 17. We will continue work on Cheech and Chongs’ doing routine maintenance, improvements and applying YTC’s Trail Science. Each trail day starts with meeting at the Samish Way Parking Lot at 9:00 with bikes, water, helmet, appropriate layers for seasonable weather and a snack. We then ride up as a group to our designated base camp for the day. Kids will experience being outside all day working with youth crews and Trail Crew Leaders and learning some educational components of Trail Building. We stop for a hot lunch, (provided by WMBC) and a few breaks during the day. We wrap up the day at 1:30, jump on our bikes and ride down together to the Samish Parking lot at 2:00 to meet parents for pick up.
YTC Cedars: Middle/High School- Fall dates for Cedars group are Purple Fridays, October 19 and November 2. Same meeting schedule as last year. 9am -2pm
This group has been involved for the last 1-2 years in our program and have covered a variety of trail building basics. If you made it to at least 4 trail days last year you have “graduated” to the Cedars group. (If you have other trail building experience please contact firstname.lastname@example.org ) Cedars group is ready to tackle a variety of new trail building challenges on Galbraith Mountain as well as other locales in Whatcom County.
Fee: YTC trail days cost per day will be a $40 fee + Annual WMBC family membership($60) https://wmbcmtb.org/donate/ This creates a sustainable program, pay some of the trail builders for their time and provide lunches ( which the kids love!)
I appreciate hearing from you on any ideas that will help our program thrive! If you know of any middle school kids that might be interested in YTC please contact me at email@example.com
Scholarships are available if the fees present your family with any hardship.
Huge thanks to all our volunteer trail builders that have been involved with this project. They have spent many hours with the kids teaching their particular specialty. Jesse Griffen, Jon Hansen, Jeff Jaap, Chris Luna, Bill Hawk, and Byron Cleary and Bill Hasenjaeger.
To attend any YTC trail day please make sure you are up to date on following:
Other YTC Programs
YTC/Vamos Outdoors: We are running a pilot YTC program this fall for some ELL kids in our community and are providing an opportunity to participate in 3 after school rides and 1 trail day. This new program will likely be shaping a vital branch of WMBC/YTC by reaching out to kids that might never have a chance to get out on the trails. If you see them out on the trails, please give them a high-5! We are excited to see old and new faces out on the trails this year! YTC is a crucial link to engage our community of youth in outdoor educational experiences! Come join the fun!
Vamos Outdoors YTC Group
YTC- Service Learning: We provide funding for Service Learning Days ranging from Middle School 6 week program to 1-day trail maintenance class. Schools like Options High School, Fairhaven and Shuksan Middle Schools are participating and learning how to build and maintain trails. For some of these youth, it is their first time on a trail!
Grants and support for YTC from: Superfeet, Whatcom Community Foundation, Phillips 66, TrailBoss, Transition Bikes, Fanatik Bikes, RRAD and our generous business and individual donors to WMBC have all helped this program succeed.
After School Ride Groups
This fall we have several ride groups regularly meeting after school to take kids out riding on Galbraith.
Do you have interest in starting a after school ride group?
WMBC offers a 1 Day Ride Leader Certification course through BICP in early spring to teach how to lead groups out on trails. This year the course is on March 16. Please contact me to be added to the list for this course. Are you a committed teacher/parent and are wanting to start leading your own group or expanding a current group you have been riding with? WMBC will cover the $200 tuition for this course.
Flying Squirrels After School Ride Group!
***Weather: Any scheduled trail or ride events are cancelled in the case of: wind advisory, snow on the mountain that limits vehicle access or an “atmospheric river” event.
WMBC’s mission statement: to preserve and enhance non-motorized trail access through education, stewardship and advocacy.
Hey Kids, Grab a Parent and join us for our annual Take a Kid Mountain Bike Day at Lake Padden on Sunday October 7 from 2-5.
Thanks to all who help make these events possible!
March Northwest RRAD Darren Clark- Farmers Insurance Agency Fanatik Bike Co. Bellingham Parks and Recreation Bellingham Events Jack’s Bicycle Center WMBC Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition #riderunanddig #marchnorthwest#fanatikbike #farmersinsurance #cityofbellingham#cityofbellinghamparks #bellinghamevents#wmbcmtb
Galbraith CLOSED on Tuesday, August 21st!
Folks, we got the heads up that there will be herbicide spraying along the highlighted roads this Tuesday (August 21st)and, as such, we are closing the mountain for the entire day.
Notices and the below map will be going up at the main entry points on Monday. If the date changes for any reason, we’ll let you know.
Please share far and wide. Many thanks!
The Department of Natural Resources presented their Draft Baker to Bellingham Recreation Plan to the public a couple of weeks ago. They are asking for comments from our constituents and this is open for comment until August 26th so it’s important that mountain bikers give our comments asap. This has been a 2 ½ year process, so let’s make sure we have a strong showing as we cross the finish line here! You can send your comments here: SEPACENTER@DNR.WA.GOV
From our standpoint, there are two key takeaways from the Draft plan that we would like folks to comment on.
- Stewart Mountain: The WMBC would like the DNR to prioritize the area around Lake Whatcom Park on Stewart Mountain for future development. The two DNR parcels on Stewart Mountain that adjoin the North and South of the Whatcom County Park already have trail development taking place and this makes perfect sense.
- North Fork:
- The southern section along the Racehorse Creek drainage is appealing due to its higher elevations and alpine views. The only potential downsides are that it starts at a higher elevation, so it would only be accessible half of the year due to snow and it’s a significantly longer drive into this area.
- On the Northern section, we would prefer the DNR to include pre-existing trails and usage in the North Fork area with or without the conditional use that is tied to the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy. Other trail networks around Western Washington will be grandfathered into the Murrelet Conservation Strategy due to their official status. While the North Fork has always been an unsanctioned trail network, it has a long history of use and it would benefit the DNR to move forward in sanctioning this area for non-motorized use. On the included map, this is the area with the diagonal lines through it.
Please be sure to send an email to the DNR at SEPACENTER@DNR.WA.GOV before the 26th of August. If you want to dig into this plan more, you can see the entire plan here: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/baker-bellingham-non-motorized-recreation-plan
This property is located in the large patch of trees within 911 and Jack and the Beanstalk and is now known as the Lake Forest Preserve. Below is the story of this property and how it ended up as a preserve.
Over a year ago, Josh Neyman from City Parks received a call from Jennifer and Steven Lake who were coming into Bellingham in August. Steve grew up in Bellingham and attended Sehome High School, but had lived on Maui for 27 years where he owned a business. Steve’s father George had just passed away and they needed to handle his estate and were curious about a 1.4 acre parcel of land they owned up on Galbraith. Josh immediately gave them Eric Brown’s information and they contacted Eric shortly after. As soon as Steve and Jennifer described the property and confirming it on City IQ software, Eric knew the piece of land that the Lake’s owned and it’s exact location….the big woods that 911 and Jack and the Beanstalk go through!
Steve’s dad, George Lake, used to work for Jim Hoag and even excavated Hoag pond back in the 1940’s. To thank George, he wanted to give George a parcel of land on Galbraith, but George declined the offer. So, instead, Jim Hoag deeded the property in 1951 to Steve when he was only 6 months old!
When the Lake’s arrived into Bellingham, Eric gave them a tour of the mountain and drove them up to the top of 911. They hiked into their property over recent logging debris at the top of 911 and they got to see this property for the first time ever! They fell in love with the big trees and the beautiful understory and really wanted to preserve this beautiful setting on the mountain forever.
Over the past year, the Lakes and Eric spoke many times about their land and they decided to put the land in a trust and then enter into a recreation and conservation easement with the WMBC. The agreement, which was prepared by the firm of Brownlie, Wolf & Lee, guarantees recreational access and will ensure the big trees stay forever on Galbraith. To dedicate the new “Lake Family Forest Preserve”, Steve’s son, Tyler, donated Elm wood slabs and our own Mark Belles welded a frame for a beautiful new bench. On Saturday, July 28th, the Lakes along with their family, friends and several of the WMBC Board members convened at the new bench – which is located at the 911/Jack and the Beanstalk intersection and held a really nice dedication ceremony. The bench has a plaque that dedicates the forest preserve to Steve’s parents – George and Eleanore Lake.
City of Bellingham, Whatcom Land Trust, and Galbraith Tree Farm reach purchase and sale agreement
The City of Bellingham, Whatcom Land Trust, and Galbraith Tree Farm LLC have entered into a purchase and sale agreement that secures the public’s recreational use of up to 65 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain in perpetuity. Bellingham City Council voted to approve the agreement on Monday night, protecting the mountain from future development.
“We are so excited to have an agreement to protect this amazing community asset,” Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville said. “Securing the public’s use of the mountain for recreation, protecting the mountain from development, and ensuring the landowner’s continued growth and harvest of timber is a win-win for everyone.”
The agreement includes both a recreational use easement and a conservation easement. Whatcom Land Trust contributed $250,000 to the purchase and the City of Bellingham Greenway Funds contributed $2.75 million for a total of $3 million. The sale is expected to close later this summer, and a management plan will be developed that covers administration, operation and management of the recreational use granted through the easement.
Galbraith Mountain is located east of Bellingham between Lake Padden and Lake Whatcom and is approximately 1/8 the size of Bellingham, reaching an elevation of 1,785 feet. The total area of the easement is 2,182 acres, with 1,023 of those acres inside the Lake Whatcom watershed. The acquisition adjoins 4,250 acres of public land managed by Whatcom County.
Galbraith Tree Farm LLC purchased the land on Galbraith Mountain from the Paulus Estate in June 2017.
Ensuring recreational use
Over the last two decades, Galbraith Mountain has been developed by mountain bikers into a nationally recognized mountain biking facility. Galbraith’s trails also support family outings, runners, hikers, and walkers. Up to now, all of these recreational uses have been allowed by the property owners on a voluntary basis. The property is zoned for commercial forestry with ongoing managed timber harvesting occurring regularly, and both recreational use and logging have successfully coexisted for many years.
“Thousands of bikers, hikers and runners use the tree farm year-round,” said Rob Janicki, principle owner of Galbraith Tree Farm. “We have worked cooperatively with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition since 2010 to preserve and enhance the public’s recreational use of the tree farm, and our excellent record of public safety is a hallmark of that outstanding cooperation.”
Eric Brown, Trail Director for the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, said their organization is thrilled to partner with the City, Whatcom Land Trust and Galbraith Tree Farm to secure this continued public access as well as continue the property’s legacy as a working forest. Under the new agreement, it is anticipated that the trail network on Galbraith will continue to be maintained by Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition.
“While our organization has built and maintained trails on Galbraith for 32 years, there has never been guaranteed public access for recreation,” Brown said. “Over the past eight years, we’ve worked closely with Janicki Logging and formed a strong relationship that has allowed the trail network to flourish during timber harvest activity. Thanks to the City and Whatcom Land Trust, our new partnership is even more exciting. As the trail network manager, the WMBC will be able to expand our world-class trail network and host future events. With the ever-increasing popularity of our trails, trail users and the growth in Bellingham, securing access to Galbraith helps maintain this jewel of Whatcom County for all residents forever.”
Protecting Lake Whatcom
With approximately 1,023 acres located directly within the Lake Whatcom Watershed, this agreement provides important protection for Whatcom County’s drinking water supply as well. The conservation easement prohibits commercial, residential and industrial development on the site, which will in turn protect Lake Whatcom’s water quality.
“After a decade or more of effort, the Whatcom Land Trust is thrilled that the original goals of permanent recreation, public access, and protection from development have been accomplished,” Whatcom Land Trust Executive Director Rich Bowers said. “Galbraith Mountain has long been a highly used and nationally recognized resource. Now Galbraith is guaranteed to forever provide these values to the Whatcom community.”
Janicki said that Galbraith Mountain will remain a working tree farm, with Galbraith Tree Farm continuing to harvest timber in a sustainable fashion.
“GTF expects to harvest an average of 50 acres per year establishing a 40-year crop rotation, providing steady employment and goods that help support our local economy. Sustainable forestry practices ensure that the tree farm will provide a healthy forest for the foreseeable future and help sequester carbon dioxide,” he said.
Recreational activity on the mountain also contributes to tourism and outdoor recreation businesses. According to the 2015 report Economic Contribution of Outdoor Recreation to Whatcom County prepared by Earth Economics for Recreation Northwest, the yearly total economic contribution of recreation in Whatcom County is $585 million and consumer outdoor recreation spending supports a total of 6,502 jobs.
In the coming months, the parties to the agreement and WMBC will develop an operating plan to ensure that the public’s recreational use of the tree farm safely coexists with sustainable timber harvest operations on the property. The City and Galbraith Tree Farm do not anticipate any disruptions in public access for non-motorized recreational use before or after the sale is completed.
“Galbraith is an amazing example of how a private landowner, commercial forestry, the City of Bellingham, and recreation, environmental and other interests can work together to protect a place so special for everyone,” Bowers said.
For a map of Galbraith Mountain and its location in relation to Bellingham, click here.
A friend of the WMBC’s donated his near-new Chromag Surface Ti 29″ hardtail (size Medium) to be auctioned off with ALL of the proceeds going to our after-school bike club programs.
Anyone interested in this sweet ride should swing into Fanatik Bike at 1812 State Street to check out the bike and put in your bid. The opening bid was $2,500 for a bike that retails at $6,450 USD. The auction will close on Friday, August 3rd at 6 PM.
More info. about the bike here: http://www.chromagbikes.com/bikes/surface-ti-27-5-29
As always, we’ll have WMBC schwag on hand for our volunteers.
If you can help out for a few hours, shoot Kaela Joslyn an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information regarding Tour de Whatcom below: