Recreation Northwest

Recreation Northwest Presents 2nd Annual EXPO

Contact Information:

Todd Elsworth

Executive Director

Recreation Northwest




Recreation Northwest Presents 2nd Annual EXPO

Free Bellingham WA event for outdoor recreation groups and enthusiasts offers opportunities to network, share ideas and learn from inspiring speakers.

BELLINGHAM, Wash., February 20, 2015Recreation Northwest announces the second annual Recreation Northwest EXPO will take place Thursday, March 12, 2015 at the Lakeway Inn in Bellingham, Washington.

The EXPO brings together the best of the region’s outdoor recreation organizations, companies and enthusiasts, along with informative and inspiring speakers, for learning, networking, and idea sharing.

The event begins at 4:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Attendees can take advantage of one-on-one time with representatives from local and regional events and races, as well as bike and running shops, outfitters, outdoor activity clubs, stewardship organizations, sports health professionals and outdoor media companies.

This year’s EXPO keynote speakers are:

Krissy Moehl, an ultra trail runner originally from Bow, who lives and trains in Boulder, Colo. and races all over the world, including Race Directing the Chuckanut 50K.

Pulitzer Prize winner William Dietrich and the North Cascades Institute’s Christian Martin, authors of The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby.

“Bellingham’s reputation as a destination for outdoor recreation continues to grow,” said Todd Elsworth, Executive Director of Recreation Northwest. “We produce the EXPO because folks needed a way to gather as a community and see what’s available out there. Exhibitors and attendees love the EXPO atmosphere, the speakers and the many opportunities to celebrate our healthy Northwest lifestyle.”

EXPO guests can register onsite or online to win door prizes, including race entries, excursions, gift certificates and gear from exhibitors such as:

Bellingham Parks and Recreation


Moondance Sea Kayak Adventures

San Juan Sailing

American Alpine Institute

Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics

Kulshan Cycles


Fairhaven Runners

Muds to Suds

Village Books

REI Bellingham

Bellingham Bay Marathon

“Our goal for EXPO is to bring everybody in outdoor recreation together in one place, stand back and let them go nuts,” said Elsworth. “Thanks to sponsors like Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, Port of Bellingham, KAFE Radio and The Best Western Lakeway Inn, we are accomplishing that goal, and amazing things are happening in outdoor recreation here in Whatcom County.”

The Recreation Northwest EXPO is free and open to the public. Learn more about the March 12, 2015 EXPO by visiting Sign up online to win door prizes at the event, and check out the list of exhibitors and the bios of the featured speakers. Watch our video to see what people had to say last year: 2015 Recreation Northwest EXPO (video).

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 the Bellingham Traverse, Bellingham KIDS Traverse; the Quest Adventure Races; the Race Directors Summit; and the Recreation Northwest EXPO. Learn more at



2014 EXPO photo library.

Click photo below for high-resolution.





We are preparing to submit our application for a City of Bellingham Signature Event tourism grant. The areas of focus for Bellingham’s tourism economy include:

  1. Recreation – Biking, Boating, Skiing
  2. Outdoors – Bellingham Bay, Lake Whatcom, Mount Baker
  3. Food – Locally grown and produced
  4. Arts and Culture – Performing, Visual, Heritage

This is our proposal. Let us know if you want in early. We’ll let you know if we get it.


Thursday, March 3rd – Saturday, March 5th
Bellingham, WA.

The Initiative
Momentum is building in Washington for outdoor recreation and tourism as driving forces for the state’s economy. Last September the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force reported in its’ Final Recommendations to Governor Inslee that “We stand poised at a critical moment in time. We can, and must act now to ensure the stewardship of our parks and public lands, to inspire our children to live a life grounded in recreation in the great outdoors, and to nurture a vital and growing business sector.” The Task Force also recognized that “recreating outside leads to people placing value on natural places and believing it is important to keep them available for today’s and future generations.”

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office recently released the much anticipated and needed study Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Washington State. The report is the first comprehensive analysis of the recreation economy in Washington. The annual statewide impact is enormous- resulting in $21.6 billion dollars spent annually on recreation trips and equipment. Recreation Northwest will be releasing a “deeper-dive” local study Economic Analysis of Outdoor Recreation in Whatcom County in April. We are excited to share this both locally and regionally.

As members of The Big Tent Outdoor Recreation Coalition and the Washington Tourism Alliance, we are aligning ourselves to support the economic initiative to help these significant industries grow and thrive. In our research, there is no regional event to convene these passionate parties. Our organization, Recreation Northwest, plans to provide a forum for supporting the initiative of robust recreation and tourism economies in our state and region.

2016 OUTDOOR RECREATION SUMMIT will offer an annual three-day event to inspire, educate and connect the various audiences to keep the initiative moving forward. More than ever we are looking for collaboration and solutions.

Who Will Attend?
The OUTDOOR RECREATION SUMMIT will bring recreation retailers, media and manufacturers, tourism representatives, land managers, race directors, economic developers, stewardship and trail building organizations and others working together to inspire a thriving outdoor recreation economy in Washington State. Mark your calendar.

Positive Outcomes
The Summit will bring citizens, communities and businesses together to explore and share ways to grow and promote our flourishing recreation economy. Valuable networking connections and time to get out enjoy the plentiful outdoor recreation amenities highlighting Bellingham as one of the Northwest’s premier recreation destinations to visit, live, work and play. It’s important to play nice with others!

Join Us
We will bring an incredible selection of world-class thought leaders and outdoor industry professionals from across a variety of fields. Hope you can join the fun.



Thursday, March 3rd – Saturday, March 5th  
Bellingham, WA.

DRAFT Agenda & Dates

Thursday, March 3rd – Recreation Northwest EXPO

Local and Regional Recreation Businesses and Organizations as exhibitors (50) and EXPO attendees (800). Free for the Public.  

The EXPO allows people to meet recreation industry professionals face to face. Outfitters, Tours, Health & Wellness, Stewardship & Outdoor Activity Organizations, Races, Media and Sponsors.

Featured Speakers are open to both the public and Summit attendees.

Friday, March 4th – Outdoor Recreation Conference
Summit Attendees (150) participating as representatives of the outdoor recreation economy in manufacturing, retail, land managers, tourism, and related industry ecosystem services from around the state and region.

The interactive conference will be a day full of local food and drink, keynote speakers, peer networking and energized breakout sessions in downtown Bellingham, WA. Abundant hotel and local transportation options for conference attendees. The evening will provide networking and dinner around downtown Bellingham. Attendees and the public will have time to explore and enjoy an outdoor recreation themed Art Walk in the on display in local businesses.


Topic tracks may include:

What does the Future of the Outdoor Industry Hold?

-Creating a Culture of Outdoor Activity
-Encouraging Visitors to Play & Stay
-Race Director College
-In the Balance: Conservation & Recreation
-Strategic Marketing for the New Outdoor Consumer
-Inspiring Kids to be Active
-Starting a Recreation Business – Lessons Learned
-Climate Change & the Impact on Recreation
-Development of the Local Recreation Economy in Rural Areas
-Playing Nice With Others – Case Studies of Cross-Promotion

Saturday, March 5thLocal Events & Excursions
Summit Attendees and their families

Guided Activities: mountain bike rides, trail runs, hikes, road bike rides, paddles and urban walks will be held throughout the day for various fitness and skill levels.

Stewardship Work Parties: WMBC trails on Galbraith, NSEA restoration on Whatcom Creek or others.

Tours of local businesses: McNett, SMC, Nuu-Muu, Transition Bikes, NuCanoe, Trail Insight and more.  

Basecamp Bellingham: Attendees may also chose to participate in local races and events.

Excursions will wrap-up with more networking and pints at local breweries on the Bellingham Tap Trail.


Editorial Note: Thank you Utah Outdoor Recreation Summit for leading the way.

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.