Recreation Northwest

Boundary Bay Traverse Red IPA in Bottles

Boundary Bay Brewery has outdone themselves this year with a delicious Red IPA! It is a session 5.5% beer that is quite quaff-able during these hot days. On tap and on the shelves soon…


Here it is getting bottled:


Kulshan Brewing Co. is Title Sponsor of Kulshan Quest Adventure Race

Registration open for Recreation and Expert level races set for July 25, 2015 in Bellingham, WA.

BELLINGHAM, Wash., July 15th, 2015—Recreation Northwest announces that Kulshan Brewing Co. will again be the title sponsor for the 2015 Kulshan Quest Adventure Race, which takes place July 25, 2015 in Bellingham, Wash.

Adventure races like the Kulshan Quest are gaining in popularity among the region’s trail runners, hikers, mountain bikers, kayakers and adventurers of all ages. Teams race through a series of checkpoints using only a map, their navigation skills, and their ability to trek, bike and paddle. To make the race even more challenging (and fun!), the actual course is a carefully guarded secret until a half hour before the start.

The Kulshan Quest offers racers two course options: Recreation, at approximately four to six hours in duration, includes trekking and biking. The Expert course, which takes eight to 12 hours, adds sea kayaking, as well. The Kulshan Quest Expert level race also serves as the Pacific Northwest qualifier for the U.S. Adventure Racing Association National Championships, where teams of three will compete October 1 – 3 2015 in Kentucky.

The Kulshan Quest highlights Whatcom County’s natural beauty and abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities, as the course passes through Fairhaven, the Chuckanut Mountains and Bellingham Bay. While each team’s endurance will be tested, fun is the ultimate goal.

Race Supports Stewardship

Recreation Northwest organizes the Kulshan Quest to promote healthy outdoor recreation, and to support its stewardship programs, including the Fairhaven Park Trail Project.

“Kulshan Brewing Company is proud to sponsor the second annual Kulshan Quest,” said Dave Vitt, Owner. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of this fun opportunity to spend time with your friends in our beautiful mountains and bay, and we’ll see you at the finish line with some amazing Kulshan beer.”

“Partnering with Kulshan Brewing Co. makes a great race even better,” said Brent Molsberry, Race Director. “Kulshan Quest greatly appreciates their continued support, and we look forward to celebrating with a pint after the race!”


To register or learn more about Kulshan Quest, visit or call 360-739-8458.

About Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest is a Bellingham, Washington–based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation, and bringing people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. Through partnerships with local businesses and organizations, we work to raise awareness of our public green spaces and their inhabitants, including one of the Northwest’s most revered symbols—the salmon. Recreation Northwest produces Bellingham Traverse; the Quest Adventure Races; the Race Directors Summit; and the Recreation Northwest EXPO. Learn more at


Vital Choice Signs On for Year Two as Title Sponsor of Bellingham Traverse

Wild seafood and organics purveyor invites everyone to compete in the multi-sport event in Bellingham, WA on September 19, 2015.

BELLINGHAM, Wash., July 8th, 2015—Recreation Northwest announces that Vital Choice will again be the title “sponsor” of the 2015 Bellingham Traverse, a multi-sport relay race that celebrates Bellingham, Washington’s outdoor recreation opportunities and vibrant culture of community. The event, which draws locals and visitors alike, takes place on September 19, 2015.

Vital Choice, the region’s leading provider of sustainable wild salmon and seafood, organic foods and nutritional supplements, support’s Recreation Northwest in its efforts to promote good health, stewardship of public lands and fun.

Bellingham Traverse Celebrates Salmon

The Vital Choice Bellingham Traverse celebrates the life cycle of the wild salmon, with a symbolic tribute to the natural and urban challenges of their journey through life:

  • Families, friends and local companies form Chinook (solo), Coho (tandem) and Chum (relay) teams to challenge themselves and cheer each other on.
  • The rugged course highlights the City of Bellingham’s scenic parks, winding trails and open waterways, with a 5.5-mile Greenways Run, 6-mile Mountain Bike, 18-mile Road Bike, 3.4-mile Trail Run, 3.6-mile Paddle and .65-mile Team Trek.
  • Participants range from hard-core competitors to those in costume, focused on fun, and everyone celebrates with a pint of Traverse Ale at the Boundary Bay Brewery Finish Line!

Focus on Stewardship

Recreation Northwest organizes the Bellingham Traverse to promote community through a race that’s become a beloved Bellingham event, and to support its stewardship programs, including the Fairhaven Park Trail Project. As Title Sponsor, Vital Choice is a natural fit, with values that closely align with those of Recreation Northwest. Both organizations value health and nutrition, stewardship of public lands, and investing in the local recreation economy.

As part of Vital Choice’s support for stewardship efforts led by the Bellingham Traverse, the company will be making a $2,500 donation to the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association.  

“Vital Choice is proud to be the title sponsor of the Bellingham Traverse. It’s a great community event that’s right in line with with our mission of promoting health for our customers and supporting our salmon resource, upon which we depend,” said Randy Hartnell, Founder and President of Vital Choice. “Our company team greatly enjoys participating in the Traverse, as well.”

“It’s great to see how Vital Choice, a local, sustainably-focused company, supports wild salmon, as well as the health and well-being of its employees and customers,” said Todd Elsworth, Executive Director of Recreation Northwest. “Recreation Northwest greatly values our partnership and we’re so excited that Vital Choice is hooked on the Bellingham Traverse!”


To learn more about Recreation Northwest, visit or call 360-739-8458.

About Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest is a Bellingham, Washington–based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation, and bringing people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. Through partnerships with local businesses and organizations, we work to raise awareness of our public green spaces and their inhabitants, including one of the Northwest’s most revered symbols—the salmon. Recreation Northwest produces Bellingham Traverse; the Quest Adventure Races; the Race Directors Summit; and the Recreation Northwest EXPO. Learn more at

About Vital Choice

Before founding Vital Choice in 2001, Northwest Washington native Randy Hartnell spent more than 20 years as a commercial fisherman in Alaska.

Today, Vital Choice, a Certified B Corporation, is the leading source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild Alaskan seafood, whole-food supplements, and organic fare. Vital Choice foods are the purest available, always sustainably harvested from healthy, well-managed wild fisheries and organic farms.

The company’s products are recognized for their superior taste and health benefits, and endorsed by leading health and wellness experts, including physicians specializing in nutrition, pediatrics, and integrative health care.

For more about Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics, please visit


Kranking it out

The third of four weeknight adventure races put on by Krank Events took place around northern Seattle. For this race the Quest Adventure Race Team divided into two teams: Brent/Annie, and Dusty/Emily/me. This marked my first adventure race and while I’ve been on hiking and mountain biking adventures with Dusty and Emily before, this was an entirely different animal! We arrived at the park just before 6pm, received our maps at 6:10pm and began racing at 6:30 sharp.

Time seemed to fly once we got our maps as we frantically planned our route. The amount of time to figure out and mark your route never seems like enough time, but you work fast and make do with what you have. Anything you can’t get down just gets left to be figured out on the fly during the race itself. This night’s race consisted of a short biking section from Gas Works Park to the UW boating center, a canoe section in Lake Washington, a longer biking section and ended with a short trekking section back at Gas Works. Luckily for me, I was quite familiar with the area having spent two years at the University of Washington so I was able to pitch in and help us plan an effective route. Dusty took over as the lead guiding us from checkpoint (CP) to CP and Emily had the passport letting us know what clue to look for at each CP.

To spread out the short biking section, the race began with a paper airplane challenge. Each team sent one member to form a circle where they had to successfully throw a paper airplane into a trashcan. Once your airplane landed within the can, you were free to leave the park. If you missed your shot, you had to wait a minute before throwing again so each miss is costly. I waited with the bikes and once Emily made the shot and ran back, we were off. Finally all that adrenaline and energy that was being wasted nervously waiting could get put to use.

The first biking section was short with just a few CP’s. With the map readable on his handlebars Dusty guided us along. It was very early in the race, but I was already impressed by his ability to ride and read at the same time as well as Emily calling out clues and marking the CP results while riding. We quickly made up time on other teams and were one of the earlier teams to arrive at the boat center.

Once we arrived at the UW boating center we were taken off the race clock until we were off and paddling in the lake (so teams weren’t penalized for having to wait in line for rentals). This also made it interesting that depending on boat rental transition times, each team had their own unique cutoff time they had to beat to avoid severe score penalties. The route took us out and around a nearby island with CP’s in the water and some on land so teams would drop off a runner on the island as the boat circled around collecting the water CP’s. Teams were allowed to group up for this section and share their answers so all of Quest reunited. We decided to drop Brent off to run around the island leaving Dusty and Emily in one boat and Annie and me in the other. Being mainly used to one person kayaks, it was pretty obvious I was not ready to steer for a two person canoe as it took a great deal of time to get our boat to track in a straight line. Eventually we got our steering figured out (mostly) with much better communication, but early on Dusty and Emily had a front row seat to watch and laugh as Annie and I would veer left, right, left, right, over and over and over again. Paddling through forests of lily pads and under short bridges, we found CP ribbons strung on branches with a word on it that matched the passport clue. Once we collected all the water CP’s we picked up Brent and headed back to return the boat.

The next biking section was much longer and took us around UW’s campus before exploring Ravenna Park, heading west to Green Lake and looping back to Gas Works. This section had many regular CP’s as well as a few pro (optional) CP’s that would deduct time from your overall score. The catch here was that while the pros could be obtained in any order, the regular CP’s in this section had to be gotten sequentially. Early on we had decided we were going to try and get everything so that’s what we set out to do. We rode around the UW athletic fields and through the quad collecting CP’s before heading north.

The biggest frustration we encountered was searching for a pro CP in Ravenna Park. Two pro CP passport clues were switched so the clue did not match the location. We were looking for a word in red graffiti on a dog leash sign, but there was only one dog leash sign around. We found some graffiti. But it wasn’t on the sign. And it wasn’t red. We looked everywhere and still, nothing. But being completists, we kept searching too long and ended up wasting too much time before giving up and moving on.

Aside from minor map difficulties (Dusty’s map started to tear and mine was soaked from the canoeing section) getting the rest of the regular CP’s wasn’t too bad. This race kept us mainly on roads so it was a little easier navigating than on curved trails. We yo-yo’ed a bit with one other team on the bikes, but for the majority rarely saw other teams, which was odd considering all the regular CP’s had to be collected in order (despite the occasional pro CP detour). Our biggest detour took us across an overpass on the west side of Aurora so we had to shoulder our bikes up several stairs before climbing a few short hills. Thankfully we chose our route so were able to get our wind back flying down some of Fremont’s ridiculously steep streets heading south for the final few biking CP’s.

Once we arrived back at Gas Works we threw our bikes down and took off running for the final few trekking CP’s without bothering to switch out of biking shoes to ensure finishing on time. At this point I was exhausted and running on fumes, but knew we were close to finishing and I just had to grit my teeth. Thankfully there were not too many left and we easily beat our 10:00pm cutoff time.

After finishing we were able to start refueling and chat with some of the other teams that had already finished. At this point we didn’t know where we stood because we didn’t know if the other teams that were done had collected every regular and pro CP. We had gotten every one except for one of the two that was switched on the passport so we felt good, but still clueless as to our actual place.

The next day we found out the results and both Quest teams placed well. Dusty, Emily and I finished in third place as the first team (behind two quick single racers). Brent and Annie were right behind in fifth place. Overall it was a great experience for my first race and one that’s left me eager to get back and race again! The last of the Krank weeknight series wraps up September 16th in Bellevue, WA.


Two Bellingham, WA Girls Set National Kayaking Record


Two Bellingham, Wash., Girls Set National Kayaking Record

BELLINGHAM, Wash., 5/30/2015 – Two 12-year-old athletes on the Bellingham Canoe & Kayak Sprint Team (BCKST) have set national kayaking records after completing the six-week-long Barton Bantams Challenge on Saturday, May 30, 2015.


Since 2007, the USA Canoe/Kayak’s National Sprint Development Program has offered this Challenge to all youth under 14 years old. Over six weeks, boys and girls paddle their boats as much as they can, and there are four levels of achievement: Bronze (200 km), Silver (300 km), Gold (400 km) and, introduced last year, Platinum (600 km).

Coached by Dan Baharav, Sierra Noskoff, 12, and Elena Wolgamot, 12, both set national records in the Platinum level – Sierra with 773 total kilometers paddled and Elena also with 773 total kilometers paddled.

The previous national kayak record was set in 2014 by Evan Truesdale (751 km ) for boys and Josie Ballard (651 km) for girls, both from San Diego, CA.

“The amount of commitment and dedication these girls have put forth is quite amazing,” says Chris Noskoff, father of Sierra. “On one day, they paddled more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) in just one session!”

Over six weeks, Sierra and Elena paddled six days a week, in addition to participating in regular team practices five days a week. They paddled before and after school on many days, and could be seen on the lake almost every day until 8 p.m. On average, they spent between three and five hours a day on their kayaks, often with only one break to refuel their bodies. “The BCKST club is producing some very talented kayak athletes,” says Noskoff. “I’m so proud of them.”

In July, Sierra and Elena, together with other BCKST athletes will compete at the USA Nationals Sprint C/K Championships at the USA Olympic facility in Chula Vista, CA.

For more information about this story, or to schedule an interview, contact Dan Baharav at 360.379.0551 or Photos are available upon request.

About the Bellingham Canoe Kayak Sprint Team

The Bellingham Canoe & Kayak Sprint Team (BCKST) is a Youth Program that trains young athletes to compete in the sport of Olympic-style flat-water sprint canoe and kayak in a safe and positive environment. The program provides education and coaching to youth ages 9 through 18, at all levels, including youngsters with disabilities. The home of BCKST is Lake Padden, Bellingham, where all of its training and competitions take place. For more information Bellingham Canoe/Kayak.

About the USA Canoe/Kayak’s National Sprint Development Program

A member of the United States Olympic Committee, USA Canoe/Kayak is the national governing body for the Olympic sports of Canoe/Kayak Sprint and Canoe Slalom as well as the Paralympic sport of Paracanoe. USA Canoe/Kayak is also the U.S. member of the International Canoe Federation and the Pan American Canoe Federation. Other paddlesports sanctioned by USA Canoe/Kayak include: Dragon Boat, Freestyle, Marathon, Surfski, Wildwater, Outrigger, Canoe Polo, Canoe Sailing and Stand-Up Paddleboard.

Learn more at USA Canoe/Kayak. For more information about the Barton Bantams.

Barton Finish 3

Training on the Tokul Trails

The Krank Events weeknight adventure race series was something I’d had my eye on for awhile, and I was finally able to participate in the May race with Quest veterans Brent Molsberry and Dusty Caseria. The race took place on the Tokul trail system in Fall City, which provided a fantastic labyrinth of singletrack and logging roads through terrain that varied from heavily wooded to clearcut.

My relationship with adventure racing has been largely behind the scenes up until this race. I’ve been active in race planning and course development for a number of races, but I have only legitimately competed in one race. Simply put, I’m about as green as they come. I thought I knew what to expect- maps, checkpoints, remote transitions, mountain biking, and trekking. The Tokul race delivered all of this, as well as a completely unexpected dose of thrill, drama, and tactical competition. I had an obscene amount of fun.

I will admit that I have always considered adventure racing one of the “long-haul” sports.  The high profile multi-day races where racers endure epic sleepless nights on the trail might tempt you to think of adventure racing as a slog-fest for only the heartiest of our species. Adventure races come in many colors, and the sprint distance (~3 hours) events in the Krank Weeknight Series are anything but a slog-fest. 

The Tokul race began on mountain bikes, reached a remote transition area (TA) where we ditched the bikes for trekking shoes, completed a series of checkpoints on foot, and then returned to the remote TA to remount and complete the race with another sequence of bike checkpoints. Both bike courses required racers to reach checkpoints in sequential order, and this made the bike legs feel a lot more like a traditional race because everyone was proceeding in the same linear direction. When the course is open and each team can pick their own route, it is impossible to know where you stand in relationship to your competition, but the sequential bike checkpoints kept us within a stones throw of our main competition for 2/3 of the race. 

Legs, lungs, and flawless navigation (thanks to Brent and Dusty, who are simply virtuosic with a map) are great tools in adventure racing, but this race introduced me to a tactical element of racing I didn’t expect. For example, when three teams are close enough to be searching for the same checkpoint, and someone discovers it nestled beneath a sword fern, it does not behoove that person to shout out excitedly, “I found it! The checkpoint says BUS!” I learned to quell the thrill of discovering the checkpoint as Dusty, Brent, and I honed our covert and non-verbal communication over the course of the race. In a final neck and neck sprint to the finish (around a horse-racing track no less), I felt like we became a six-wheeled, three-headed, goal-fixated creature surging for the final checkpoint, and then the finish. 

There were 28 checkpoints and we finished in just under two hours, which meant we averaged about 4 minutes per checkpoint. At this pace, there wasn’t a minute to spare on second guessing. We had to walk the line between bashing around in the woods in passionate pursuit of the checkpoint and calculatedly following the route we determined from the map. Equal doses of both were the ticket to constant progress, and it was incredibly fun to work with the number of variables at play in a race with no set course. I watched in awe as my seasoned teammates worked their navigation magic, and vowed to beef up my own navigation skills for future races.

We ended up crossing the finish line only an instant behind Matt Hayes of Team DART, but due to the time bonus we had picked up on a special section of the course where different “bonuses” were hidden in the trees we got the official win. Matt certainly kept us on our toes, and his skill was apparent as he deftly managed the navigation, clues, and passport while keeping his speed throughout the race. He kept the competition stiff for Team Quest, and it was exhilarating to keep trading the lead as we got closer and closer to the finish.

Darkness and drizzle did nothing to dampen the rush I felt from competing in this race. It was a blast, and the warm chili, hot dogs, hot cocoa, and recovery snacks at the finish line only sweetened the deal. Krank put on a well-organized event, and I will definitely be back for more! Next up in the series is a race in the Lake Union area of Seattle, which will also include a canoe course. See ya there!