Recreation Northwest

15th Anniversary Celebration for Vital Choice Bellingham Traverse at Boundary Bay Brewery.


15th Anniversary Celebration for Vital Choice Bellingham Traverse at Boundary Bay Brewery.

BELLINGHAM, Wash., August 22, 2016 – Celebrating the 15th Anniversary on Saturday, September 17th at Boundary Bay Brewery, the Vital Choice Bellingham Traverse is a multi-sport event that celebrates the life cycle of wild salmon and the natural and urban challenges of their journey. The Traverse course highlights the recreational amenities of Bellingham and involves running, mountain biking, road biking, paddling and team trekking to a cold pint of Traverse Red IPA at the Boundary Bay Finish Line.

“The foundation for our success over these past 15 years is attributed to the strong relationships that we have with the City of Bellingham, especially our wonderful Parks and Recreation Department staff. Along with Boundary Bay Brewery, Fiamma Pizza and Kulshan Cycles as our founding sponsors, together, we have collectively continued to improve the event for our community,” said Todd Elsworth, Bellingham Traverse founder and director. “We have had the fortune of having solid northwest brands support the event as our title sponsors including REI, PeaceHealth and currently Vital Choice Wild Organics and Seafood.”

Similar to the Ski to Sea team relay, the Bellingham Traverse Course includes a 5.5 mi. Greenways Run, 6 mi. Mountain Bike, 18 mi. Road Bike, 3.4 mi. Trail Run, 3.6 mi. Paddle, 0.65 mi. Team TREK to the Boundary Bay Brewery Finish Line. One unique difference from Ski to Sea is the opportunity for individual competitors in the Chinook (solo) division. Along with popular Company Teams, the Traverse also offers divisions for Coho (tandem) and Chum (relay) teams for people of all shapes and sizes.

The idea for the event came to Elsworth when he returned to his native Bellingham in 2001 after a nearly decade away and abroad. For the history of how it came to be, read: Bellingham Traverse ROOTS. The backstory is an extension of Elsworth’s interests and ambition and makes the connection to our iconic salmon so prevalent in the Traverse.

The event is now managed by Recreation Northwest and also helps to support the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association with Vital Choice’s support.  Over the 15 years, the Traverse has helped to raise money for a variety of local non-profits including Kulshan Community Land Trust, NSEA, Whatcom Land Trust, Action for Africa and dozens more.

In 2016, the Traverse serves as a fundraiser for a project directly related to the event in a local city park. “The second phase of our Fairhaven Park Trail project is our way to repair and protect the trails that we are using in the forest for the trail run leg of the Traverse. Our next section of trail and wetland boardwalk will be a grand testament to the work our community can do together,” Elsworth, also the founding executive director of Recreation Northwest explains.

Registration is open for all Traverse divisions. Sign-up before rates increase on September 3rd and order commemorative 15th Anniversary Traverse shirts by August 30th.

Register, Volunteer and order your T-shirts:

Watch Traverse TV:

Follow Traverse on Facebook:

Photo of first Traverse starting line:


Race photos available for print & online publication.

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.  For more information, to become a sponsor or to volunteer, visit


Scoop the Poop

Partners come in all shapes and sizes. Even poop. Dog dootie in this case. Our friends at RE Sources will be out with us in Squalicum Creek Park for the Bellingham KIDS Traverse.

Here’s their pitch:
Meet us anytime till noon, starting at 9:30 AM by the baseball fields.
Help us hand out rewards and incentives for scooping the poop properly
while talking about how we can all play a role in being part of the
solution to keeping our parks, yards, and waterways healthy for kids,
pets, and neighbors.

During the next two weeks, we’ll need help handing
out handbills and more poop flagging! Whether you think you might want to
volunteer all summer, or just one session, we’d love to have you come and
talk poop with us!

  Eleanor Hines
  Lead Scientist
  Clean Water Program
  RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
  360-733-8307 ext. 213 (office)
  215-287-0043 (cell)

Recreation Northwest Hosts Fourth Annual Bellingham KIDS Traverse on a New Course at Squalicum Creek Park


Recreation Northwest Hosts Fourth Annual Bellingham KIDS Traverse
on a New Course at Squalicum Creek Park

BELLINGHAM, Wash., June 7, 2016 – Recreation Northwest announces the 2016 Bellingham KIDS Traverse on Sunday, June 26th will be relocating from Civic Field to Squalicum Creek Park. The format and distances will remain the same as the past 3 years. 

“The decision to move to the new venue at Squalicum Creek Park is to create a more spectator-friendly course for the families to enjoy,” explains Executive Director, Todd Elsworth. Elsworth also wanted to highlight the new park located in the city’s north end and applaud the work that the Parks and Recreation department is doing for the community. “We are excited to showcase the perimeter of the park and the connectivity of trails in and around the Birchwood and Columbia neighborhoods.”

Kids ages 6 through 12 are invited to participate as solo (Chinook) tandem (Coho) or Relay (Chum) competitors for the race, which includes four events:
·       A one-mile run around the perimeter of the park
·       A 1.5-mile bike which will be a mix of grass, dirt and compact gravel
·       A half-mile obstacle course will be set up on the field and offer a combination of challenges 
·       A quarter-mile team trek to the Mallard Ice Cream Finish Line
Visit for updated maps and course details. 
Also new this year: Boundary Bay Brewery is partnering with Mallard Ice Cream to offer Root Beer Floats to all finishers and volunteers. Their long-standing relationship with Recreation Northwest, led to the opportunity to include Boundary at the finish line. In addition, all participants receive a sticker and awards will be presented to the top three finishers in each age group.
“Recreation Northwest is excited to invite kids to participate in this fun and safe outdoor activity, to learn more about stewardship of our shared recreational spaces, and to connect with the life cycle of the salmon through running, biking and navigating an obstacle course,” said Elsworth. “Through this event, we hope to help instill a lifelong love of recreation and playing in the outdoors that will benefit every child.”

Early Bird rates end on Friday, June 10th. Register today and save. 

Proceeds of the race support Recreation Northwest’s Stewardship & Education programs. Parents are invited to learn more about and register their kids for the Bellingham Kids Traverse

Race photos available for print & online publication.

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.  For more information, to become a sponsor or to volunteer,


Fairhaven Park Trail Project Phase ONE – That’s a WRAP!


In 2015, Recreation Northwest completed our first major stewardship project in the Bellingham’s Fairhaven Park. Want to dig deep? Here’s the role of our organization as outlined in our Community Stewardship Project post. This is the story that tells how Recreation Northwest as Community Stewards of Fairhaven Park came to fruition.

Thanks to all of you who made it happen. – Todd Elsworth.

In the photos below LEFT is the previous trail that went right through the wetland. Below to the RIGHT is the new trail alignment built with an accessible trail for all to enjoy. 


Special Thanks to our Partners for Phase ONE:
Gerry Wilbour, NW Trails
Perry Welch, Welch Environmental
Andy Law, Wilson Engineering
City of Bellingham, Parks and Recreation
Chris Mellick, RRAD

Our Generous Donors.
See our list of our supporters: Phase One Trail Stewardship Project Donors.

We especially thank the Bellingham-Fairhaven Lions Club, Q Laundry, Alcoa Intalco Works and Stones Throw Brewery.

Q laundry
alcoa StonesThrow Logo A_CMYK

The Trail Work Party Volunteers made it ALL COME TOGETHER!

Our First Fairhaven Trail Work Party A Success

Work Party #2 – A Bunch of FUN

August 20th Work Party #3

50 Volunteers at Q Laundry “You Clean UP Pretty Good” Fairhaven Trail Work Party

Finishing the Trail with Alcoa Work Party

Recreation Northwest is a Park Steward for Fairhaven Park. Working in partnership with city staff, we have chosen to focus on trail relocation projects in Fairhaven Park- working towards connecting the park with the recently purchased Chuckanut Community Forest.

We are in the Phase ONE step towards protecting the rich biological diversity of the urban habitat and offering public access to enjoy this bounty of nature. The relocated trail will connect Fairhaven Park and 18th Street.


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.

Dig Deeper: Here’s the role of our organization as outlined in our Community Stewardship Project post.  This is the story that tells about Recreation Northwest as Community Stewards of Fairhaven Park.

More Information:

Press Release (10.27.14) Recreation Northwest Leads Trail-Building Effort in Fairhaven Park.

Media Coverage:

How to Build a TrailMount Baker Experience Magazine, November 2015

Whatcom race organizers good stewards of outdoor adventure areas, Bellingham Herald OP ED, January 21, 2015

Group leads effort to move trail off wetlands in Fairhaven Park, Bellingham Herald, November 28, 2014

Muddy Boots: Building a trail is a volunteer effort, Cascadia Weekly, November 12, 2014

Forest Stewards: Recreation Northwest aims for sustainable recreation, Mount Baker Experience, Fall 2014

Branching out: A local race organization becomes a park steward, Mount Baker Experience, Spring 2014




Have a Hand in Building the Fairhaven Park Trail and Wetland Boardwalk

Have you had the chance to enjoy the new section of trail connecting neighborhoods to Fairhaven Park via 18th Street? That beautiful section of trail was our first phase in improving public access to Fairhaven Park.


After the forest became an official city park, as users of the trail with events like the Bellingham Traverse, we felt very strongly about being good stewards of this place we all enjoy. We are thrilled with the support we’ve received to make this much improved trail a reality.

With the help of donors like you, volunteers, Fairhaven Lions and more community partners, in early 2015 Recreation Northwest was able to start the work of building the new trail. This first phase of improved access was completed in September, 2015. We’re so proud of this first section of trail and are grateful that you share our vision of caring for our green spaces and improving access for everybody in the neighborhood and community.

Fairhaven Forest Trail Projectwordmark
The first segment has also helped to preserve the natural wetland area of the park as we relocated the first section. Now we’re ready to move further down the path and get started on Phase 2 – a Wetland Boardwalk!

The wetland boardwalk will connect the new trail and the full network of trails throughout the urban forest. By building the boardwalk we’re  continuing to improve access and also protecting a very sensitive area. The work on the new boardwalk will include repairing the damage that has been done by the current unsanctioned trail.

With the help of our professional Trail Team* we will be able to protect this ecological gem that boarders the edge of our city. By using this finished project to highlight and amplify the natural landscape we are certain this new boardwalk will become a landmark.

The Great News!
We already have a great start on our fundraising goal.
The cost to complete the Boardwalk is approximately $91,000.
So far, we’ve raised $73,000.
Can you help raise the last $18,000?

These are the ways you can help:

Donate! Make a donation right now! Consider hosting a house party and asking your friends to donate too.

Lend a Hand! Join us for Trail Work. Grab a shovel and get your hands dirty!

Walk the Talk! Attend a Trail Talk. Come out and get a look at the good work that’s been completed so far. Learn more so you can help us spread the word.

Raise a Pint! Drink an Ale 4 Trails.

Add your name to the list of those helping make the boardwalk a reality!

Many thanks to the City of Bellingham, Bellingham Parks and Recreation, the foundations, numerous local businesses and all of our neighbors who are supporting this project.

We look forward to taking a stroll with you across the boardwalk!

*Our Trail Team is a group of hired contractors and volunteers who are helping us find the best way to cross the wetlands and connect Fairhaven Park to the Forest.


Excursions Bring Expert Guidance to Everyone

Have you always wanted to run the beautiful trails of the Chuckanut Mountains? Or get into paddling on Lake Padden? How about trying your hand (and legs) at mountain biking? If so, you’ve got to check out the Excursions happening on February 27 as part of the Recreation Northwest EXPO 2016.

Excursions are outdoor adventures designed to connect people who want to get out and explore with the folks who know where to go and how to do it—like Krissy Moehl.

Krissy Moehl, Ultramarathon Runner

Krissy Moehl, ultra runner, trail running, EXPO, Excursions, Chuckanut 50KKrissy Moehl  is the coach for Revolution Running Bellingham. She’s also an ultramarathon/trail running champ with more wins and Fastest Known Times than you can imagine. On top of training for 100+ mile races, she’s also written Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-mile Race and serves as race director for the beloved Chuckanut 50K.

For this Excursion, Krissy is teaming up with Aspire Adventure Running to lead a multi-pace, multi-distance group trail run through the Chuckanut Mountains. Revolution Running is providing coaches to give runners training and racing tips, and lead different pace groups. Some will do the entire “Chuckanut Casual,” which consists of the middle 30K (18.6 mi.) of the Chuckanut 50K course, while others may elect to do 15, 12, 10 or even six miles. Paces and distances will depend on who signs up.

And yes, mere mortals can do this run! You don’t have to be an ultra trail runner to get out and have fun. “Even if you’ve never been on the trails, the Chuckanuts are an easy introduction,” Krissy said. “The thing I love to share about trail and endurance running is the idea of where  your two feet can take you. When I was growing up in Bow, I looked at the mountains and thought they were pretty, and now I know I can get up there on my own two feet.”

What to Bring

The run is free and open to the public, and Aspire Adventure Running is providing a light breakfast ahead of the run, plus an aid station on the course and a recovery meal afterwards.

Runners should bring their own water and trail food, and dress in layers for a variety of weather—you never know what conditions will come up. “There will be an aid station, but it’s always a good idea to be self-supporting on the trails,” said Krissy.

Come by the free Recreation Northwest EXPO on Friday, February 26, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. to meet Krissy Moehl, get all the details and sign up for the run. “This is a great opportunity to meet the greater running community both in and beyond Bellingham,” she said.

  • Trail Run: 9:00 a.m., meet at Lost Lake/Clayton Beach Parking Lot. Bring your Discover Pass for parking or pay the daily fee.

Additional Excursion Opportunities

(Free unless otherwise noted)

  • Bellingham 5K Winter Trail Run Series: 10:00 a.m., meet at BBMX Park in Bellingham. $10 or $5 for GBRC members.

  • Mountain biking with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition: A 2 – 3 hour guided tour of Galbraith Mountain’s amazing Mountain Bike trails. Groups will be organized by ability and fitness level. 10:00 a.m., meet at Samish Way parking lot near Galbraith Lane. Please RSVP to

  • Paddling with Yeager’s: A variety of watercraft will be available to try on Lake Padden with folks from Yeager’s Sporting Goods. 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., meet at the swim beach near the park’s west entrance.

  • Hiking with Fairhaven Runners/GBRC: Explore Lake Padden Park’s upper trails, led by Polly Favinger of Fairhaven Runners and the Greater Bellingham Running Club. 10:00 a.m., meet at the swim beach near the park’s west entrance.