Goodbye 2020! The new year is finally here; unfortunately the COVID-19 crisis continues to limit our gatherings and ability to be with friends and families. Nevertheless, there are many ways we can enjoy the lands we all love and that keep us connected with each other and with the natural world. Here in Whatcom County recreation opportunities are endless. The lands we love offer us places for hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, kayaking, and even more. No matter what your interests are, there’s something here for everyone!
Let’s start with Galbraith Mountain. Until 2018 the land had been used primarily for commercial forestry for decades, with recreational access granted only on a voluntary basis by the property owners. Working together with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), the City of Bellingham, Rob Janicki (the owner of Galbraith Tree Farm), and many other partners, the City of Bellingham negotiated purchase of permanent recreational access featuring some 65 miles of trails. The Land Trust negotiated purchase of a conservation easement to protect almost 2,000 acres of land on Galbraith Mountain from further subdivision and commercial development. Due to the hard work of all of those involved, Galbraith is guaranteed to forever provide permanent recreation, public access and protection from development while still serving the purpose of commercial forestry.
If mountain biking isn’t your style you can head over to Stimpson Family Nature Reserve. There you can follow three miles of trail through forests and wetlands, check out a large beaver dam and a portion of Beaver Creek, and marvel at towering western red cedar trees. Stimpson is the result of more than 15 years of work. The initial two pieces of land that became Stimpson were both acquired in 2000 when the Land Trust purchased the first 80 acres from the Trillium Corporation, and another 116 acres were generously donated by the Stimpson Family. The final piece wasn’t acquired until 2015 when the Stimpson Family once again donated the final 20 acres. This special place is a sanctuary of solace and awe, a place where we can all experience wildness close to home.
The Land Trust is also proud of the numerous partnerships we have formed throughout Whatcom County and beyond. One great example being our collaboration with the Whatcom County chapter of the Back Country Horsemen who help maintain and improve the trail on our Edfro Creek property, increasing its accessibility for both those on foot as well as horses. We appreciate their support, and the commitment they have to outdoor recreation and land protection. Whatcom Land Trust also works with Whatcom County Parks, holding conservation easements on some of your favorite places such as Point Whitehorn Marine Park and Teddy Bear Cove. Partnerships such as these are essential to our work, and we are honored to collaborate with organizations working towards a more resilient Whatcom County.
This is a difficult time for us all, but the parks and wild places that provide comfort, refuge and healing are still here to keep us connected both with each other and with the land we live on. Whether it’s mountain biking on Galbraith Mountain, strolling through the natural beauty of Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, or having a “wow” moment watching a sunset at Teddy Bear Cove, you can find the experience you’re looking for. Whatcom Land Trust is committed to making sure you can safely enjoy and recreate in the many special places Whatcom County has to offer.
If you head out to one of our properties in the new year don’t forget to tag us on instagram @whatcom_landtrust!