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As many know, there were two public DNR meetings last week (one in Kendall and one in Fairhaven) and it was great to see many of our community there to express your desire to recreate on our state forests in Whatcom County. This is the culmination of 2+ years of work by the DNR and a diverse Recreation Planning Committee. At last week’s meetings, the DNR showed two concepts for areas that could have authorized recreation in the future. Concept D and Concept E
Important: Neither of the two concepts is mutually exclusive and are rather designed to get input on what you like or don’t like from each concept.
If you couldn’t attend and want to express your support for mountain biking on these landscapes, please email the DNR at: BakertoBellingham@dnr.wa.gov
Key points you may want to let them know:
- Let them know you enjoy riding your bike (and other activities) out on trails in the forests.
- Areas you’d like to see mountain bike access to include: The North Fork of the Nooksack, Middle Fork of the Nooksack and the Mirror Lake and Stewart Mountain areas (connecting into Lake Whatcom Park).
- If you ride with your family/kids, let them know that’s important to your family as well.
- Wherever possible, the DNR should assess pre-existing trails (aka, non-designated) to determine if they can be brought to appropriate trail standards. Not only would this help jump start the trail construction, but it also could save a lot of money in the process.
- If you’d like to have a legal shuttle area, please let them know that.
- Do you own a business that benefits from people recreating in Whatcom County? If so, let them know that as well.
Marbled Murrelet and our Recreation Plan:
Many folks are unaware that the DNR and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have concurrently been working on a Conservation Planning Process for a seabird called the Marbled Murrelet. You can read more about the Murrelet here.
In the Marbled Murrelet Conservation plan, it has primarily been looking at the logging of larger trees and the impact on nesting habitat for the birds. However, there was very little voice for recreation in this process which could make the construction of new trails in some parts of Whatcom County very difficult. As an example, large swaths of the North Fork and the Middle Fork have been removed from consideration. In areas around the state that already have authorized recreation and trails, those are being grandfathered into this plan. However, we have no authorized recreation in Whatcom County on DNR lands and so this may have a significant impact. As a result, the DNR has identified some large potential areas as “conditional” during the recreation planning process. That means that the “conditional” areas could only be considered for future recreation if they are NOT in final Murrelet approved areas.
What can you do? Please emphasize to the DNR that they and the US Fish and Wildlife Service need to look at how non-motorized trails are compatible with the Murrelet Conservation Strategy. For instance, we can create appropriate buffers from nesting sites, perform trail maintenance/construction during non-nesting season and can strategically locate trailheads and other infrastructure away from nesting areas to not attract predators. You can read the letter that the Baker to Bellingham Recreation Committee sent to the DNR about the Murrelet Conservation Strategy last March here.
Here is a link to the Baker to Bellingham Recreation Planning Page for future reference. Make your voice heard and ensure that the DNR knows the types of recreation you are looking for on DNR lands and where you’d like to recreate…your opinion matters!
Today, the WMBC is launching our December membership drive to help support our many initiatives for this upcoming year. We are shooting for a modest goal of 1,000 members for this next year – which we feel is achievable considering how many folks ride, run and hike in areas that we help build and maintain. A HUGE thanks to Spencer and Kyle from Level Visuals for creating a video series involving some of our members. We’re launching today with a quick video from our very own Queen of Crankworx – Jill Kintner.
To make it easier than ever to support the WMBC, we have created 3 levels – Individual, Family and Business. As part of the December membership drive, anyone that donates more than $100 will get a limited edition SST Tech T-shirt from our good friends at Treelines Northwest (Tech T’s will ship in January!).
Annual Report and our Goals for next year:
To learn more about what the WMBC is working on for next year or download our annual report, click here:
To help with our December membership drive, you can donate here:
We truly appreciate everyone’s support and can’t do what we do without you – whether it be financial support, digging in the woods or helping out with our events. You are the WMBC!
Here are several updates about logging on Galbraith below. Please be sure to scroll through everything. Thanks!
Slash Pile Burning:
As of the afternoon of November 15th, the foresters on Galbraith are starting to burn some of the large slash piles that have accumulated in several areas. They are doing this prior to planting activity and are beginning with the piles near Cedar Dust and then heading over to the Lone Wolf area next. This was supposed to start on Monday, but the winds were way too high for permitted burns the past couple of days.
We’ll keep you updated on their locations over the next week, but attached is a map of the various pile locations. This won’t affect trails or access, but there could be smoke going through certain sections of trail corridors (wind direction will affect this) and we’ll put some warning signs up – just in case.
We will have our crew with them at certain points, so they will pull bigger chunks of Cedar from the piles and set them aside for our use.
Closed: Middle SST, Air Chair and Candy:
Middle SST, Air Chair, Orient Express and Candy are all being harvested as of November 13th. Those trails are all signed closed and flagged off and were walked with the loggers last week.
Please note that the 1200 road and the Tower roads have a lot of vehicle traffic during weekdays, so please stay off of them, if possible.
Closed: Here to There, Kung Fu Theater, El Pollo, Tough Love and Pick Up Sticks
The area at the top of the wall still has a TON of activity as they process and load the logs up in that zone. As such, the Tower Road will have a lot of logging truck activity during the weekdays and we’d encourage folks to go up the Pigs or another way – if possible.
We want to send a huge thank you to Michael Storm who just wrapped up his final work day as the Volunteer Coordinator of the Civic Dirt Jumps last Saturday. Michael has been working on the DJ’s since not long after his arrival to town in 2008. Mike also led the major overhaul/rebuild of the jumps during 2012 and has kept them running great ever since as the leader of the park. Beyond that, of course, he has been a tremendous ambassador for the WMBC and our greater mountain biking community.
Please Share with your riding friends!
We are asking folks to stay off of Galbraith Tuesday (9/26). There will be aerial spraying Glyphosphate in the highlighted areas on the map and we won’t know exactly where the pilot will be at any given time. They are planning to start in the morning and hopefully will finish up everything tomorrow. If that changes, we’ll keep people posted.
Signage and flagging are up on the mountain. Thanks!
It’s been great to see folks out using and enjoying the pump track. I always see someone riding when I swing by or ride though.
A few things we’d like to emphasize as being good stewards of the pump track and Whatcom Falls Park. Remember that one huge strength of our community is our ability to self-police….so, if you see someone doing these things, gently remind them about what they’re doing is wrong and why it has a negative impact. In the end, this is a community-created resource and we’d really like to build more in other parks – which requires all of us to pitch in and help.
Basic Rules and Etiquette:
- Bikes only on the pump track! Please, no scooters, rollerblades, skateboards, RC cars, pogo sticks or any other device that doesn’t remotely look like a bike. Small wheel on things like rollerblades and other items dig into the dirt, degrade the track faster and will make maintenance a larger issue. RC cars tear the living crap out of the dirt. No exceptions here.
- Please respect folks who are playing basketball. We’ve heard from people that are really stoked about the pump track, but say they regularly have people ride right through a game or while they’re shooting hoops. This is a really simple thing to help avoid. Is someone playing basketball? Get off the court or remind a rider about it.
- When you’re riding through the park (to get to the pump track, head to Galby or even passing through the park), please ride slow and be courteous to other park users. This truly is a universal etiquette item, but with more bike traffic in Whatcom Falls park, we really want to emphasize that even more here. Take a few seconds to slow down and give a “hello” or “how ya doing?” as you pass other trail users. It’s amazing how far a little courtesy goes!
- No walking on top of the berms or sides of the pumps. This can help break down the dirt and is another maintenance item.
- If you think the track is dusty and could use some water, grab a hose and spray it down. If you have questions, ask another ride or email the wmbc at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are our official rules and etiquette signs, but the above items really cover 90% of the issues we’ve seen so far. Thanks again for all of the help and we’ll see you on the track!
We had an incredible turnout of 300+ folks for the grand opening celebration of the Whatcom Falls pump track. 5 of our 7 City Council members came to show their support and hang out with an amazing group of folks. Photo credits go to Eric Mickelson.
There are too many people to thank individually, but we need to say THANK YOU to our volunteers….you are what make our little organization what it is in our community.
- Bellingham Parks and Recreation: Huge thanks to Josh, Leslie, Nicole and the Park’s Ops team who have supported this effort from the beginning.
- Bellingham City Council who voted in favor of this pump track 7-0 and their support at the opening ceremony.
- Bill Hasenjaeger and the entire Bellingham Parks Board for their support.
The pump track had a lot of business support and we need to thank the following sponsors and people:
- REI – Pat Kennedy for a grant that paid for our dirt.
- Construction by Champion – Chris Luna for all his help getting machinery and advice during construction.
- Ram Construction – Josh Erholm and Shane Kelling for their machine time and expertise.
- Gateway Controls – Jonathan Huffman for the use of their mini excavator
- Transition Bikes – Kevin and Kyle for their support of the WMBC and this project.
- Crank Brothers – Kellen Trachy, Jill Kintner and Bryn Atkinson provided the seed money that covered our wetland delineation and gave our site the thumbs up.
- Freeland and Associates – JP Slagle for his design work of our stormwater mitigation system that allowed us to get permits for this project.
- Fanatik Bike – Luke, Mark, Kathy and Kyle S. for our stormwater basins and sponsoring the grand opening celebration.
- Momentum Trail Concepts – Steve, Matt and Moga for a great design and build out.
- Donkelope Bikes – Greg Heath for our job box that will allow us to securely keep our tools on site.
- Freehub Magazine – The autograph session with Bryn and Jill was amazing.
The WMBC’s cost for this project was $47k and, while we did raise $20k via businesses, individuals and in-kind donations, we ended up pulling $26k from our general operating budget. If you’d like to support this project and future pump track projects, please consider a donation to the WMBC!
The Janicki crews are about to start a month of harvest activity on Galbraith. As such, there will be more vehicle activity during the weekdays, so please be courteous and move over when you come across a logging truck during the day. Also, it is imperative that these closures are respected for your safety and the crew’s safety.
We will sign and flag the trails as closed on the following dates, but these dates are always subject to change.
Cedar Dust – July 10 -24th
Please Use Family Fun Center while all timber activity is taking place on Cedar Dust.
- July 10th – 17th – Cutting
- July 17- 24th – Log hauling
Oly, 187, Lost Sole, Cougar – July 17th – 31st.
Please use Vitamin R or Kaiser to avoid this area.
- July 17th – 24th – Cutting
- July 24th – 31st – Log hauling
Lower Mullet, Upper 911 and Jack and the Beanstalk – July 31st – August 14th
Do not exit from Kaiser on to Mullet. For 911, use Cheech and Chong’s
- July 31st – August 7 – Cutting
- August 7- 14 – Log hauling
Road spraying: There will be one day in August (Date – TBD) of a FULL MOUNTAIN CLOSURE due to spraying on every single road.
Aerial Spraying: There will be several days where certain trails / areas will be closed due to aerial spraying. TBD on specific trails and dates.
We will update you on the above dates as soon as we know.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Bellingham, Washington (July 5, 2017) – Eric Brown, Trail Director for the non-profit organization, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), has expressed his organization’s support for the sale of the 2,240-acre tree farm on Galbraith Mountain to Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC. The tree farm will continue to be managed by Janicki Logging and Construction, which has operated the farm since 2010.
“The WMBC is excited about having Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC be the new owners. We already have a positive working relationship with Janicki Logging,” says Brown.
”One of the motivating factors behind the purchase of the tree farm at Galbraith Mountain was our desire to provide continued access to the 45-plus miles of trails that are used year-round by tens of thousands of bikers, hikers, and runners,” says Kiersten Sahlberg, spokesperson for Galbraith Tree Farm LLC. The efforts of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition began 31 years ago, when a group of mountain bikers known as WHIMPS began building and maintaining a network of trails. WMBC has been the official steward of Galbraith Mountain since 2002, organizing 50+ trail days throughout the year and thousands of hours of maintenance.
A survey conducted by the WMBC last year found that the trails play an important role in the economic health of the region. “We manage a large network of trails that are not only a destination regionally, but also nationally, and Galbraith is the lynchpin of that network,” says Brown.
The study found that 41 percent of visitors to Galbraith Mountain are from the Seattle/Bellevue area, and 14 percent are from British Columbia. Another 25 percent of respondents were from areas outside of the region and country, including Michigan, Alaska, Utah, Florida, New Jersey, Montana, Texas, California and China.
Closer to home, 61 percent of the study’s respondents who moved to Bellingham/Whatcom County stated that easy access to the trails played an important role in their decision to move to the area. In addition, 82 percent of long-time residents stated that easy access to trails/recreation played a very important role in their decision to stay in Whatcom County.
Brown says that WMBC hopes to build on its alliance with Janicki Logging and the new owner, Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC.
“Janicki Logging shares its harvest plans with us. It also takes steps to avoid impacting high-value trail features and minimizes its trail crossings. Any changes to the harvest plans are communicated with us quickly, and I can pick up the phone to contact the crew with any concerns. We have even walked the trails together when necessary. The WMBC looks forward to continuing this strong, cooperative relationship with Janicki and Galbraith,” says Brown.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Eric Brown, Trail Director
Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC
A huge thanks to those who have already stepped up to help brush on Galby these past couple of weeks. With the increased timber harvest in recent years, this has become an increasingly large and important task to take on.
Many hands make for light work!
- SST / Golden Spike – Fanatik Bike Crew
- Here to There, Pick up Sticks, Lower Candy, El Pollo connector – Lacy Kemp, Spencer Paxson and Sarah Paxson (with baby Paxson in tow!)
- Brown Dog, Dos Copas, and Back Door – James and Liz Waltman
- Pony Express to Brick (3 Pig), Meth Lab – Lincoln Humphrey
- Tough Love (top) – Tyler Byrnes and EB
- Tough Love (bottom) – Alex Martin, Chris Luna and EB
- Devilcross – Matt Shelton and Kona Crew
- Bandito (south end) – Bill Hasenjaeger
- Family Fun Center (east end) – Javon Smith and Alex Martin
- Candy – Tim Williamson, Javon and EB
- Hopscotch – Chad Anderson
- New Issues – Chris Rose, Paris Gore, Javon and EB
- Cedar Dust – Forrest Montgomery, Lincoln Humphrey, Jake, Isaac, and EB
- Bandito (north end) – Bill Hasenjaeger,
- Mullet and Cheech and Chongs – Dash
- Dos Copas (upper) – James Waltman
- Air Chair (Bottom) / Dos Copas – Ryan Balfour
- Rock n Roll – Kulshan Brewing / Dave Vitt and crew
- Mole Trap – Chris Rose
- Irish Death (bottom) – Steve and Allie Vidito and Jeff Jaap
- Lair of the Bear (bottom) – Steve and Allie Vidito and Jeff Jaap
- Bottle Opener – Mike Brodskey, Jon Hereen and EB
- Kaiser – Phillips 66 Crew and James Steele
- Oly – Bellingham Cycle Works/Ryan Joslin and “friends of Ed Cruz”
- Papa Bear – Todd Wiersum
- Lost Sole – Todd Wiersum
- WECU crew / Brian Rhodes – Family Fun Center (50%)
- The Ridge – Javon Smith / Mike Naselow