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County Council Approves Plan for 98 Miles of New Trails at Lake Whatcom

Posted by Francakes at Nov 14, 2016 07:30 PM |

After more than a year of collaboration with the recreation community, the Whatcom County Council will ensure sustainable access to this local gem.

A misty fall day along Lake Whatcom. Photo by arrkay.

Driving outside of Bellingham, it’s difficult to miss the sapphire gem of Lake Whatcom nestled beneath Mount Baker. It is a natural close-to-home recreation destination. However, few designated trails exist around the lake and demand for access to the area has steadily increased.

After more than a year of collaboration with the recreation community, the Whatcom County Council will ensure sustainable access to this local gem. The council approved a new trail plan at the end of October.

Beginning in 2015, a combined committee of land managers and local recreationists were challenged with the task of ensuring everyone had a safe and sustainable place to play. Washington Trails Association represented hikers' voices on the committee.

To receive funding, trails still need hiker support

The final plan offers high-quality mountain bike courses, trail mileage for hikers and equestrians, and protects the water source for nearly 100,000 County residents.

The dozen organizations and community members on the Whatcom Outdoor Coalition have pioneered a model for how a land management agency and multiple user groups can come together to serve multiple priorities for the benefit of the community at large.

A construction schedule is contingent on funding, however. WTA will continue to advocate for increased trail funding to make this and other projects possible across the state. Hikers interested in supporting this effort should consider joining WTA for Hiker Rally Day in Olympia on February 15.

Read more about the plan in the Bellingham Herald.

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