WMBC

Advocacy Alert! Give the DNR your input!

 

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:

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

Station 1: RECREATING IN THE FOREST

Station 2: RECREATION TOPICS FOR CONSIDERATION

Station 3: ACCESSING THE FOREST

Station 4: PARTNERSHIPS/OPPORTUNITIES

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