Our Story
Our Story
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Our Story

Located in the northwest corner of Washington State, Whatcom County is Whatcom Land Trust’s workplace. From the peaks of the North Cascades to the shores of the Salish Sea, Whatcom County brims with an abundance of environmental and natural riches, including rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands; habitat for all five species of Pacific Salmon and many other fish and wildlife species; two federally recognized Native American Tribes; the shorelines, beaches and intertidal zone of the Salish Sea; and 100,000 acres of some of the most productive farmland in the nation, ranked as one of the top counties in the United States for berry and dairy production.

Our Story: Cascades to Chuckanuts
Cascades to Chuckanuts Photo by Alan Fritzberg

This workplace, including the Chuckanut Mountain Range straddling the border between Whatcom and Skagit Counties, is one of the last remaining largely undeveloped, diversely forested tracts of native forest lands. This roughly 350,00 acres is known as the “Cascades to Chuckanuts” or “C2C” range and its uniqueness and importance was highlighted in the January 2004 Cascades to Chuckanut Conservation Plan, prepared for the Whatcom Land Trust in partnership with the Skagit Land Trust and the North Cascades Corridor Project. Protecting lands and habitat within this corridor remains a priority for our actions.

Our Story: History

In March, 1983, nearly 50 people gathered in the basement of the Dutch Mothers Restaurant in downtown Lynden, Washington, an agricultural community in the heart of Whatcom County. Together, they learned about ways a land trust might preserve Whatcom County’s agricultural heritage. Having obtained 501 (C)(3) non-profit status, the first “official” board meeting of the Whatcom Land Trust met in November, 1984. Some of the people who were instrumental in the creation of the Whatcom Land Trust continue to donate their time and financial support as active participants in our work to this day. Present at the original meeting: Henry Bierlink, Bob Andersen, John Vander Hage, Henry Polinder, Denise Atwood, Sandy Palm, Hilda Bajema, Dave Syre, Shirley Van Zanten, Diane Miller, Cal Roper, Fred Colvin, Jim Wynstra, Sherm Polinder, Joe Elenbaas, Dan Noteboom, Bob Muenscher, and Ron Polinder. Board members recorded at the March, 1984, Executive Meeting included: Acting President Rand Jack, Herman Miller, Bob Muenscher, Henry Polinder, Jime Wynstra, and Hilda Bajema. Absent were Phyllis Graham, and John Vanderhage.

Today, Whatcom Land Trust works with our many partners: agencies, tribes, businesses, landowners and others to protect the nature of our home. And to support our long-range promise to the Whatcom County community that in 50 to 100 years the wild and special places here in our county will still exist, and the quality of life they represent will remain forever.

“Conservation for the community, by the community…”

These words appear on the sign at the Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. They summarize Whatcom Land Trust’s work, and our ongoing and special partnership with Whatcom County Parks and Recreation.

Using creative solutions, Whatcom Land Trust has worked collaboratively with timber companies, Native American tribes, conservation nonprofits, businesses, local, state and federal agencies, foundations, the City of Bellingham, Whatcom County, and individual donors and landowners who love their land to ensure that those natural resources that have sustained us in the past continue to enhance our quality of life.