Recreation Northwest

Phase One Trail Stewardship Project Donors

We had 92 donors help us surpass our $30,000 goal. Donations came from our board of directors, families, friends, racers, local businesses and park neighbors. We are proud to have them as the foundation for our success.

Phase One Trail Stewardship Project Donors

Fairhaven Lions

NW Trails – Gerry Wilbour

Welch Ecological Services

Wilson Engineering

Applied Research Northwest- Pamela Jull

Boundary Bay Brewery – Ed Bennett & Janet Lightner

Andy Wickstrand

Donna Moreno

Kulshan Brewery – David Vitt

David Laws

Kurt Baumgarten

Charlie Maliszewski

Christoph & Geraldine Reitz

Duane Jager & Christine Gibbs

Adam Lent

Al Ragan

Betsy Bierer

Mike & Diana Claxton

Kay Yates

Jessica Pursell

Joe Yaver

Emily Reiman

Amy McIlvaine

Betsy Hanusa

Chuck & Dee Robinson

Tammy Bennett

Christopher Grannis

Steve & Kathie Wilson

Alex Gehring

Kulshan Cycles – Eric & Kae Moe

Betsy & John Hewlett

McNett – David Wiggs

Harbour Light Strategic Marketing – Ned Savoie

Cory Brown

Joseph Nolting

Gregory Palermo

Brandon Nelson

Harriet Arkley

Dean Fearing

Mike McAuley

Craig Brown

Nancy & Paul Orlowski

Carmen Gilmore

Kurt Gisclair

Tami Newburgh

Teresa Schmidt

Brian Smart

John Siehl

Michael Chiavario & Mary Mullen

Magnus Collander

Andrew Weiner

Michelle Grandy

Sonja Max

Amy & Ken Mann

Paul Stout

Galen Tritt

Todd Eastman

Joe Mancuso

Andrew Olive

Andrea Warner

Rebecca Westlake

John King

David & Peggy Kehe

Foster Rose

Christina Master

Beth Vonnegut

Jen Gallant

Eliza Canty-Jones

Christine Ageton

Lorraine Baumgarten

Leslie Knight

Laura Habberstad

Todd Elsworth

Karen Berg

Earl Cilley

Ed & Jackie Pettit

John’s Repair – John & Kim Erickson

Tim Allison

Amanda & Travis Sipher

Bill Molsberry

Peter Frazier

Becky Kurle

Alex Ramel

Ali Taysi

Anthony Petz

Tom Caldwell

Carter Kiesau

William Lamp

Ian Ferguson

Lisa Johnson

Anthony Mancuso

Josh Parrish



Happy Trails to you in 2015

The Fairhaven Lions Club, led by President Joel Haggen, sealed the deal for us last week as we surpassed our goal of $30,000 for our organization’s first stewardship campaign in Fairhaven Park. In their largest donation in 60 years, they unanimously voted to contribute $8,300 to Phase One of our trail relocation project. Fairhaven Lions have a strong history with Fairhaven Park and are committed to helping us on our trail projects.

The Lions complemented the tremendous community support- from a total 92 donors. Donations came from our board of directors, families, friends, racers, local businesses and park neighbors. The substantial donation by the Fairhaven Lions has brought our total to $30,025. See the full list of Phase One Campaign Donors.

Our permits are in process for the city and we plan to be doing the phase one trail work this spring. We will be hosting trail work parties to prepare for the trail to be built. We invite you to join us.


This is the first phase of the trail project of our new stewardship program to demonstrate the value we see in taking care of the places we enjoy. This project grew out of a community request to provide support for the trails connecting Fairhaven Park and the Chuckanut Community Forest.

The trails need to be improved for easier access for all types of users—and even more importantly, for the health of the forest’s ecosystem. To make the project manageable, we have broken it into multiple phases. We began work on Phase One in August of 2014 and plan for this first project to be completed in spring of 2015. This initial project connects Fairhaven Park and the trail entrance at 18th Street by rerouting a highly-traveled access trail out of the wetland to higher ground. Phase One work was supported through community donations and in-kind services of our contractors and suppliers.

Phase Two will be identifying how to connect our successful new trail to the Chuckanut Community Forest- currently accessed via a trail that crosses the wetland and becomes a 25-foot-wide swath of mud. The rerouted trail will take a lesser grade climb up the hillside to connect with the main trails in the Forest. These sustainable trail improvements will eliminate sedimentation and allow water to flow freely, enabling the wetland to function in its natural state.

We are proud to be working to relocate unsanctioned trails through fragile wetlands in this special urban forest. The new trails will connect this popular park and newly acquired community forest with a diverse network of trails. The trails will be built to City of Bellingham’s specifications and will bypass the wetlands, allowing increased and enjoyable access for people as well as protecting this important habitat for wildlife and the ecology of the forest.

This is a great way to kick off the new year. Happy Trails to you in 2015.


Economic Benefits of Outdoor Recreation in Washington

Exciting News!

The Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office just published a study that “quantifies the economic contribution of outdoor recreation to Washington State’s economy”. They hired Earth Economics from Tacoma.

Recreation Northwest has also commissioned Earth Economics to do a deeper dive study for the impacts in our home base of Whatcom County. We are able to do this with funding from Whatcom County, City of Bellingham, Port of Bellingham and Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism.

The Whatcom Recreation Economy report will be available in April 2015.

Download the Economic Benefits of Outdoor Recreation in Washington (PDF)

Executive Director, Todd Elsworth, will be sharing this information at various speaking engagements around the county and the region. Come to the Recreation Northwest EXPO on March 12th for a sneak peak at some of the highlights.


Washington State Recreation & Conservation Office Source documents:

Economic Benefits of Outdoor Recreation in Washington Fact Sheet

Economic Benefits of Outdoor Recreation in Washington 

Losing weight is easy…. (Brian Seales’ race journey)

…if you count the three pounds of weight you drop by just removing your water soaked clothing.

 This was a pretty wet night for a run (Wednesday) but I’m happy I did it.  (Which is pretty clear by my photo)


Mind over Matter

I decided that if I’m going to kick-start this training, I need to get used to running in the rain. It is the Pacific NW after all. I’m not a stranger to rain, but it does sway my opinion of outdoor activities from time to time. This time I threw in some contacts, put on my brightest shirt, set my iPhone to shuffle, and headed west from my house. I really only wanted to put in a couple of miles to acclimate myself to running in inclement weather, as the rain was starting to fall and the wind gusts were still under the 20mph mark.

Less than 1/4 mile

It took less than 1/4 mile for me to have two soakers. I kept running. The wind started picking up and the power lines were swaying with each gust from the south. I kept running. The rain went from “nuisance” level to “impossible to keep eyes open” level. I kept running. My pace slowed, but I kept running. I ended up covering just under 3 miles, which in itself is no large feat, but when factoring the weather and the threat of falling power lines and trees, I think I did okay. My pace was slow, but not terrible considering the amount of time I spent running against the wind.  Check out my profile at Strava

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.38.53 PM


Distance: 2.9 Miles
Pace: 8:35/mile (I’m shooting for 7:00/mile)
Weather: Shitty
Blonde Redhead – Symphony of Treble
Aphex Twin – Vordhosbn
Go Slowpoke – I really don’t think I’ll ever figure it out
Mongolian Death Cloud – Track 01
Arcade Fire – We used to wait
Broken Bells – The High Road
Frightened Rabbit – The Greys


Next Steps

I plan to meet with Trailhead Athletics soon to go over my training and I should probably consult a healthcare pro about this chronic cough I’ve developed. Stupid allergies.


Looking Back and Moving Forward

Recreation Northwest had a full event calendar in 2014. We hosted Multisport-Relay Races in the towns of Winthrop, Olympia, North Bend and Bellingham (and a Kids Traverse too) as well as Adventure Races in Fairhaven and Orcas Island. We also hosted our second Race Director Summit and first EXPO (watch the video). Oh yea, and some volunteer work parties, fundraising events and plenty of planning meetings!

Some perspective. Our organization is actually less than 2 years old and just received our non-profit status earlier this year. Our Board of Directors and Staff are diligently working to find the balance between our events and our new community programs of Stewardship and Education. Part of our strategy was to create the Northwest Traverse Series to create opportunities statewide for people to have some fun together and subsequently help grow our events (bottom-line stuff) to be able to support these grassroots programs.

We had great teams of people, sponsors and media support in the places where we hosted our races and made great business connections and new friendships along the way. We value these relationships and are grateful for the support we received. Yes, with a triple-bottom-line perspective, the events were a success. Unfortunately, that is not enough to make these activities sustainable for our business. After much deliberation, budget crunching and conversations with our partners, we have decided that we will not be hosting the Northwest Traverse in the towns of Winthrop or Olympia.

We love Winthrop and cherish the place and people of the Methow Valley.  They have had quite the year! The low snowfall in the winter and devastation of fires and floods last summer took its’ toll on the local economy and the lives of most. We would especially like to help bring visitors to the area, but simply don’t have the capacity. 

We would like to give special shouts out to those individuals who helped launch the Winthrop Traverse. To all the volunteers who came out to show support! Props to Julie Muyllaert from Methow Cycle & Sport for connecting us with all the right people. To our Race Directors Sam and Allison Naney (and Fiona) rallied the community and made it happen. Mike Pruett put it all together for us at Pearrygin Lake with the support of Rick Lewis from State Parks. The hospitality provided by Mary Campbell and the staff at Sun Mountain Lodge was 5 star!! Shouts out to James DeSalvo and staff from Methow Trails for participating and being great partners. Our own, Paul Clement, for keeping the party going at the Finish Line as MC! Last, but not least- Thank you to Kerby, Ash and Linda Court of Bear Creek Golf Course for extending the invitation to us in the first place. Read Thank You Winthrop for recap.

Thank these people the next time you see them! How you ask?

Go to the Methow Valley and Spend a Ben(jamin Franklin $100 bill). You can support Methow Trails and local businesses like Sun Mountain Lodge, Methow Cycles, Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop Mountain Sports, Pine Near RV Park, North Cascades Mountain Hostel and your favorite place while you’re there.

The relative good news is that while we will also not be hosting the Olympia Traverse in 2015, our partners at Centro will be continuing the event as the Olympia Adventure Relay. The race will follow the same course we have used in the past. The event will also partner with and finish at the Olympia Beer Fest in 2015. This promises to be a ton of fun!

Without Winthrop and Olympia, we will be able to focus on our hometown events, here in Bellingham. Bellingham KIDS Traverse is scheduled for June 28th and we’re making changes to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced in the first two years. Our Crew, led by Race Director Jen Gallant, is shaping up to create even more fun for the kiddos!

Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics has committed to being our title sponsors for the 2015 Bellingham Traverse and are excited about our shared commitment to the environment and eating well for healthy living. We unfortunately had to bid adieu to our Race Director, Tyler Mitchell, who will be relocating to the “big city”. I am glad that he is looking forward to going SOLO in the race (see what I did there) on September 19th, 2015 and wish him well.

We are working with our partners on the North Bend Iron Horse Traverse, currently scheduled for September 12th, 2015. They strategically became a part of the series last year and we look forward to helping the event grow in metropolitan Seattle and the Eastside.

Based in Bellingham, The Quest Adventure Race TEAM & Club, will also be finding deeper roots. We look forward to working with Brent Molsberry as Race Director and his TEAM of Emily and Dusty! Exciting things are to come with the Team, Club and our Adventure Races! Mark your calendars for Kulshan Quest – July 25th and Island Quest – September 26th.

We enjoyed 2014!  I’m anxious to share what we have coming in 2015. “TTFN” – Tigger

Day One (Brian Seales’ race journey)

Photo from the start of the trail run in 2012.

Photo from the start of the trail run in 2012.

It’s official. This blog outlining my training journey from now until I start the 2015 Bellingham Traverse with a Chinook division, 100-series bib number, starts today! I have threatened to race in the traverse under the men’s solo division before, but that proclamation usually happens about a month before the next scheduled race, and because of my “hit or miss” training schedule, the motivation to follow through with that short term goal was pretty minimal. Not this time.

For your entertainment only.

This collection of journal entries is purely for entertainment. I fully encourage anyone to join me on my quest, but I don’t intend this blog to provide health advice. Each person is different and I have my own team of physicians, chiropractors, trainers, and massage artist to help me along my way. I encourage you to do the same, or just read along and laugh at my experiences.

I’ve given myself a fair amount of training time until the race.

Roughly 9 months. 9 short months to whip my admittedly soft body into race condition, and I truly believe that 9 months should be plenty of time. I’m not a stranger to working out having been a member of various fitness groups over the past 5 years like Bellingham X-Fit and Trailhead Athletics, but since I started Ketchup+Mustard, my time has been dedicated to growing the business. I’m ready to balance that out, and having a goal like this only encourages that kind of work/life balance. My motivation is this race, the net benefit is a healthier Brian. Win/Win in my opinion.

Goals and junk and stuff. 

At this point in my journey, the goal I have is to stay injury free and simply finish the race. I’m not too concerned with stage times, but I’m guessing, and hoping, that those things become important sometime during the training. I have a great support team (some who don’t know they’ll be helping me yet) that will help me along the way and will update this blog with details of how I’m progressing. I’m aware that you may not know who I am, or why you should care about my self-fulfilling experiences, so I will definitely include some training benchmarks with my posts to provide some insight to the progress I’ve made (if any).


Running – I think my current average mile time is about 8:30/mile (I think it’s called the “pace?”). I’ll be running a LOT over the next 9 months and plan on hitting the track for a two mile benchmark run every other week. The first of these runs will happen this weekend and I’ll post the results. My current shoes are Nike Free Run 3’s, but I’m considering getting some Hoka’s. Thoughts?

Mountain Biking – I’m no stranger to the saddle of a mountain bike. I used to be an avid downhill rider but have sold all my gear and currently ride every now and then on my crappy Frankenbike. I’ll need to upgrade my equipment before the race.

Road Biking – I’ve called road biking “joyless riding” since I can remember, but I’ve learned to see the value in it. I don’t currently own a road bike (other than a steel cyclocross bike I won from, and really haven’t actively attempted to ride for speed. Any suggestions are fully appreciated.

Trail Run – Probably my strongest leg of the race, based on experiences up until this point. I can run on trails. Doing it after finishing the other legs will definitely be a challenge.

Kayak – I dread this leg of the race. I’ve only kayaked once in a crappy plastic kayak, and nearly tipped it many times. I am definitely going to need a coach for this section of the course, just to keep me alive.

Feedback is appreciated

They say it takes a village. Granted that usually refers to raising a child, but I think it applies to this situation too. I’m happy to listen to any advice or feedback during this journey and encourage your contributions and I know that having a community behind this process will only help me along.

I will be working with Trailhead Athletics along the way, with this event as the goal. I know they are great at what they do and will be a HUGE asset to my training. I know I will feel like shit for a large portion of this 9 month period, so get used to hearing me complain about it. I know that I will be offsetting my exercise with drinking beer (being an owner of the Bellingham Tap Trail has it’s pros and cons. Mostly pros). I know that this will be hard, but also rewarding.

Thanks in advance for reading and following along.