It is no secret that Whatcom County is known as a recreational haven for adventurers near and far. From skiing on Baker to mountain biking on Galbraith, there is no shortage of outdoor activities for all levels of recreationalists. Whatcom Land Trust understands the value of recreation in this beautiful place we call home, and whenever possible incorporates passive recreation on our protected lands. The Land Trust has helped protect such recreation destinations as Galbraith Mountain, Blanchard Mountain, Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain Parks, and numerous other County and District Parks. Skookum Creek is next on that list; 1,400 acres of relatively intact riparian forest and cold water habitat which the land Trust is in the process of acquiring. In addition to the sixth other conservation values identified by the Trust through sound science and strong relationships, Skookum has the potential to add even more to the recreational opportunities we have here in Whatcom County.
Recreation Economy According to the 2015 report on Economic Contribution of Outdoor Recreation to Whatcom County prepared by Earth Economics for Recreation Northwest, Whatcom County residents and visitors spend over $7 million per year on outdoor recreation equipment and trips. In addition to spending, Whatcom County has 279 recreation businesses which support almost 4,000 jobs and result in over $500 million in revenue each year. The benefits of recreation also influence our quality of life, the aesthetic beauty of this place, healthy habitat for fish and wildlife and overall stewardship of the land. Groups such as the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, the Whatcom Chapter of the Backcountry Horseman, 4 th Corner Fly Fishers and many others have been instrumental in promoting land conservation throughout Whatcom County.
Whatcom Land Trust and Recreation Whatcom Land Trust’s mission is to preserve and protect wildlife habitat, scenic, agricultural and open space lands in Whatcom County for future generations by securing interests in land and promoting land stewardship. One of the ways the Trust fulfills this mission is to allow for passive recreational opportunities on our protected land whenever possible. In collaboration with its many partners, the Land Trust has helped promote recreation on Galbraith Mountain- world renowned mountain biking area, Teddy Bear Cove- Bellingham must-experience, Stimpson Family Nature Reserve and Lake Whatcom and Lookout Mountain Parks along with many others.
Whatcom Land Trust’s Upcoming Acquisition In the South Fork Nooksack River Valley there is no shortage or recreational opportunities. The Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan, which includes both the South Fork and Skookum Creek, affirms that this area “is a regional outdoor recreation haven, providing local residents and area visitors with finding opportunities, scenic trails, idyllic riverside campsites, world-class whitewater boating, rich assortment of wildlife viewing opportunities, and incredible winter sports…” Whatcom Land Trust’s upcoming acquisition of 1,400 acres in the Skookum Creek Conservation Corridor provides the potential to add strategically planned recreation to the area’s already thriving recreational opportunities. Once the Land Trust acquires Skookum, recreational objectives include expanding human-powered, low impact public recreation opportunities, linking Skookum area trails with other South Fork Nooksack recreation resources and communities, work with recreation partners in restoration and stewardship activities to eventually increase public access, and to engage community members in educational and stewardship activities. By implementing these objectives, Whatcom Land Trust hopes to promote a community understanding of the long-term conservation and recreation benefits of Skookum Creek and the Upper South Fork Nooksack Region and the positive impacts this acquisition will have on the next generations of people who call Whatcom County home.