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:
Youth Trail Corps
WMBC has created a new and thriving youth trail building program: WMBC-Youth Trail Corps Established Winter 2017.
The conception of the YTC was focused towards 100 Acre Woods or Fairhaven Forest. Historically, many decades of trail and jump building exist in these lovely woods. The recent purchase of this land by the City of Bellingham has changed the focus of the forest from imminent development into a natural forest preserve. CCFPD (Chuckanut Community Forest Park District) commissioners are managing this forest until the city takes it over, and it is in thanks to their efforts over many years that this forest was saved from development. The CCFPD is upset with youth building jumps and trails in this forest over the years resulting in momentum to press charges against many of the youth involved in building jumps.
One of the main goals in launching the Youth Trail Corps was to teach our youth how to take this negative friction and create conflict resolution,. We took many measures over this last year to create a connection between these two user groups as well as propose a strategy to create a sanctioned area within the boundaries of 100 Acre Woods for the youth to build jumps. The WMBC-YTC spent over 200 hours breaking down old jumps, narrowing trails, working on the new bike park design, removing many invasive blackberry plants, creating a powerpoint presentation to the board and replanting degraded areas with ferns and native plants. The presentation, along with many other overtures between WMBC, CCFPD and City of Bellingham, created a strong working relationship that the youth were able to see and take part in. CCFPD Commissioners were convinced that the steps we took, and our designated bike park proposal moving forward would be a good solution to the problem. Intolerance has turned into cooperation.The board is willing to move forward with the proposed bike park area and we are waiting for this approval to come to fruition. It will likely take some time for any more forward progress of this bike park.
Rather than lose momentum with this fantastic group of kids, we currently have shifted our energies to Galbraith Mountain…
WMBC-YTC has officially adopted Cheech and Chongs trail and we have a thriving pre-teen/teen program that meets regularly to learn all about the many different aspects of trail building. We have over 30 kids actively participating in this program. WMBC has contracted Javon Smith, one of our local trail builders, to develop and lead these youth in a trail building program that encompasses teamwork, leadership and all aspects Trail Science: soils, hydrology, native and invasive plant species, building features, culverts, trail flow etc. Javon is doing a fantastic job with these kids! Check out Cheech and Chongs trail, it is running fine and new features are evolving. Heads up that one feature is under construction this Spring. We are stoked to foster the next generation of trail builders in our unique mountain bike culture in Whatcom County.
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, Byron Cleary and Bobby Terry.
Grants from: Whatcom Community Foundation, Phillips 66, New Belgium Brewery and our generous donors to WMBC have made this program possible. If you know of a middle or high schooler interested in getting involved, contact WMBC for more information.
Bike Rodeos: Did you know that WMBC sponsors all the Bike Rodeos in Bellingham Public Elementary Schools and many throughout Whatcom County? We provide funding, insurance and support to contract Chris Mellick/RRAD to host Bike rodeos which gives every elementary aged youth in our community the opportunity to get out and ride a bike, some for the first time ever. Every year this program alone reaches over 7,000 youth throughout Whatcom County.
Thanks to Northwest Recycling for offering to match any metal recycled! This is an ongoing offer. Just mention you are donating your metal recycling to WMBC and it will be matched!
Thanks to Superfeet for welcoming us at your “Giving Fair” this year! Employee owned Superfeet were given the choice on where their donation funds to go this year. As a way for WMBC to show our appreciation to Superfeet employee donations to us; and recognizing that Superfeet is based in Ferndale, we immediately funded all 3 Ferndale Elementary Schools for Bike Rodeos ..giving back to the Ferndale community.
After School Ride Program: 11 Bellingham Elementary schools in Bellingham School District host after school rides, including 2 girl specific ride groups this Spring for an average of 1x/week for 6 weeks. WMBC sponsors Ride Leader Certification through BICP every year, and also offer insurance, apparel and logistical support. This Spring we have 16 new ride leaders certified.
From what I’ve seen so far, the kids rides are going great!
Service Learning: We provide funding for Service Learning Days ranging from Middle School 6 week program to 1-day trail maintenance class. Schools like Windward and Options High School, Fairhaven and Shuksan Middle Schools participating and learning how to build and maintain trails. For some of these youth, it is their first time on a trail!
Want to support these programs? Here are some things you can do to be involved:
- Become a WMBC member: Individual, Family, Business. December Membership Drive! | WMBC
- Volunteer: we can use help in many ways: trail work, office work, media, outreach: we can find a spot if you would like to get involved.
- TAP: your business can adopt a trail and be a part of our trail adoption program.
- Fund specific programs you want to support.
- Donate to our general fund and we can apply it to what we need help with the most.
CDC Race – 4/21 – Volunteers needed!
I’m officially putting the call out for volunteers for the Cascadia Dirt Cup. If you’ve volunteered in the past and know what you want to do, let me know. As always, we’ll take good care of you with tacos, beer, a jersey and our undying gratitude. As always, we’ll need course timers, course marshals, EMS folks, parking attendants, beer garden (including setup and takedown) and course sweepers.
“Be Considerate” Springtime PSA:
It’s that time of year again and the trails and parking will be busier than ever soon enough. So, we have to remind everyone to be extra considerate when using our various the trail networks. That includes:
- Be Considerate and friendly to our fellow trail users whether on bike, foot or hoove. It’s not too hard to slow down and say “hi” as you pass someone or ask someone if they know where they are going if they look lost.
- If you’re riding up Birch St. or Galbraith Lane and a car is approaching, ride single file so the neighbors can safely pass you. If you are riding on Galbraith Lane and can move over for a neighbor, please do so as soon as possible. I recently heard about some bikers being really rude to a neighbor who was simply trying to drive down the street to their house.
- Being considerate to neighbors also includes not leaving your car doors open as you get ready, leaving your bike in the road, letting your dog run all over the place, blasting music, changing clothes, etc. Pretend that you live on their street and treat it as such.
- Leashing your dog to and from the trailheads and picking up your dog crap….AND not leaving the bag on the side of the road/trail. We all know that everyone’s dog is perfect and would never take a dump in the neighbors yards, but do us all a favor and use your leash while on the roads to/from the trails.
Upcoming build days and projects on the schedule:
- This Sunday April 8th – Cedar Dust Trail day – sponsored by Boundary Bay Brewing: This is being led by Javon Smith with the plan to get it dialed in before spring and summer hits. They will be meeting at the Samish lot at 9 or on the trail at 9:30 near the Rock n Roll intersection. Lots of goodies from our friends at Boundary Bay Brewing. More info. here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1693384207374156/
- Saturday, April 21 and May 5th – Mullet trail days – Sponsored by Brownlie, Wolf and Lee and being led by Bill Hawk. As is tradition, we’ll be meeting at the Samish lot at 9 AM for these and carpooling up from there. More info. here: https://www.facebook.com/events/181124175858276
- Saturday, Aprils 28th –Chuckanut Trail Day – This day will focus on getting any repairs done on the trail tread from the CDC enduro race.
- June 2nd – National Trails Day – This is a split day where we’ll be working on TWO projects with the folks from Washington Trails Association, Backcountry Horsemen, Whatcom Land Trust and other groups.
o The first is a cool project with the DNR on Blanchard where we’ll be working on a short re-route to a user-built trail that goes into Lily and Lizard Lake from the North side of the mountain.
o On Lookout Mountain, we’ll be kicking off a full 4 months of work planned with Whatcom County Parks and the City of Bellingham. There will be more of a game-plan for those projects soon, but mark your calendars and we hope to see a big turnout at both events!
April 28th WMBC Joyriders Spring Kickoff:
The ladies are meeting at the Southside lot at 10 and riding ‘til 1. Then, they will head to Kulshan on James for a post-ride party. More info. here:
Bears and Goldilocks Logging update:
The loggers were still pulling logs off the Papa, Baby Bear and Goldilocks area as of last Friday. As soon as I hear that we can get in there to assess the state of those trails, I’ll let you know. If you want to help get them opened back up, please reach out to me asap. The tree planters are going to be in this zone almost immediately, so it will be extra important to try to get it reopened ASAP.
House for Sale on Galbraith lane:
If any mountain bikers are looking for a place near Galby with lots of land, Joan just put her place on the market and is moving to Lynden.
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!
Bellingham Screening Presented by: WMBC and Freehub Magazine
Saturday, February 17 at 6 PM – 9 PM
There will be a Q&A session with Chris Lawrence who was a part of the Freeride movement in Rossland during this era and co-stars in the movie.WMBC Members who donated $100+ can pick up their tech T’s at this event. Shirts will be shipped out after the event. (Thank you Adam from Treelines!)
Tickets are $15 (kids under 11 free) and currently available at Fairhaven Bicycles, The Kona Bike Shop, Fanatik Bike Co., Jack’s Bicycle Center, Earl’s Bike Shop, Alleycat Bike Shop, and Mister Lost Bike Shop
This film is the origin story of a small movement of mountain bikers who rose up, challenged the status quo, and changed the sport in ways that can be seen in every aspect of mountain biking today.
From technology, to media, to fashion, to the creation of a multi-billion dollar industry, this small, dedicated crew of adventure seekers from the backwoods of British Columbia, Canada, were
quietly and unknowingly carving their path in history. The momentum they created from pushing themselves and their bicycles harder, steeper, and faster sent a wave into the action sports world that still has not slowed to this day.
This film is about the tipping point when freeride mountain biking became a global sports phenomenon, and the people who were
passionate enough to make it happen in the face of industry adversity, injury, and heartache. This is a story that has never been told, told by the people who lived it firsthand. This is the story of the moment that changed everything.
When: January 10th
Where: Birchwood Presbyterian Church, #3 Chapel, 400 Meadowbrook Ct, Bellingham.
If you’d like to learn more about the future Cordata Community Park along with the proposed pump track (among many items), here’s more info.
Bellingham Parks and Recreation invites the public to the first of three public meetings to review and comment on plans for the first phase of the new community park in the Cordata neighborhood. The meeting will be held January 10, 2018, from 6-8 PM at Birchwood Presbyterian Church, #3 Chapel, 400 Meadowbrook Ct, Bellingham.
The design is based on the park master plan adopted by the City Council in September 2017. Phase one focuses on the north activity node including a spray park, playground, parkour area, bicycle pump track, adult exercise area, picnic shelter and restroom. Phase one also includes a trail loop through the park, an open playfield, pedestrian gateways, landscaping, art, and parking.
The Parks and Recreation Department welcomes all residents to attend the Jan. 10 meeting but will also accept written comments, which can be e-mailed to Jonathan Schilk or mailed to the Parks and Recreation Department at 210 Lottie Street, Bellingham, WA 98225.
The City acquired the new 20-acre park in 2015 with voter approved Greenways 3 Levy funds. The park is located on the east side of Cordata Parkway between Stuart and Horton Roads, in the Cordata Neighborhood.
For more information or to sign up for future notices, please contact Jonathan Schilk at Parks and Recreation, or visit the Parks website athttps://www.cob.org/gov/projects/Pages/Parks/cordata-community-park.aspx