Background: Recreation Northwest became Park Stewards for Fairhaven Park in 2014. We chose this particular park due to the impact we have with the trail run leg of our Bellingham Traverse. We were quickly propelled into taking on a long-term project for the health of the forest and the benefit of our community.
Working in partnership with city staff and our community, we have chosen to focus on trail relocation projects- working towards connecting the park with the Chuckanut Community Forest. We completed Phase 1 in 2015 and will be completing Phase 2 in 2017– with your help.
The new trail will be 400 feet long including an elevated wetland boardwalk crossing to limit impact on this fragile habitat and improve public access.
Your support is crucial to raise the final $12,000 needed to complete this project. Donors over $1,000 will be honored with their name on a “recognition rock” at the new trail entrance.
Upcoming Work Parties: We will be having invasive species removal, planting parties and trail work scheduled throughout the summer and fall. These are the dates that we have set so far (subject to change)
Saturday, August 12th – sponsored by Village Books & Paper Dreams (full)
Thursday, August 17th, 6:00-8:00pm – sponsored by Trayvax
Saturday, August 26th, 10:00am-Noon – sponsored by Brett McCandlis Brown
Please RSVP for our work parties so we can send you specific details.
Join us at Stones Throw afterwards to toast your great work
Guided Walks – Our Trail Talk with Todd on Park Rx Day was so popular that we’re offering monthly guided walks of the Chuckanut Community Forest/100 Acre Woods. Join us for a tour and get to know your way around this trail network. We’ll vary the route each time. Walks are free to the public, though donations are appreciated to help support our stewardship work in Fairhaven Park.
Sunday, August 27th 11:00am
Park in the lower lot by the basketball courts
Meet at the trail head near the Upper Pavilion
We’ll go for a walk through Fairhaven Forest
Phase 2: Here are photos of the area we are working on fixing and the proposed new route through the lush forest canopy on the right.
The construction of Fairhaven Trail Phase 2 will be a new section of pedestrian/bike trail, partially in a wetland and wetland buffer and the abandonment of an existing section of trail in a degraded wetland and buffer. Trail abandonment is necessary to discontinue the pedestrian impacts to the wetland and to provide a safer trail built over the same wetland in a better location.
The new trail will cross the wetland for 95 feet with 40 feet of elevated boardwalk which includes 254 feet of trail in the wetland buffer. Wetland impacts from the new trail are 846 square feet with 3,649 square feet of buffer impacts (boardwalk results in only 10 square feet of impact). Recreation Northwest’s site mitigation includes restoration of 3,384 square feet of wetlands and 3,649 square feet of wetland buffer enhancement.
The construction of a crushed-limestone pedestrian/bike trail will be about 400 feet long and 6 feet wide with 1-foot shoulders on each side. Where the trail crosses the wetland, a 40-foot boardwalk will be constructed to avoid direct wetland impacts.
The new trail is meant to bypass an existing trail where significant impacts to vegetation and soils have taken place due to the wet conditions and ill-defined trail. The existing trail area will be restored as part of the mitigation plan for impacts from the Phase 2 trail.
The purpose of the trail is to avoid further impacts to the wetland from the existing trail and also to repair wetland and wetland buffer damage from the existing trail. The new trail will have impacts but will minimize the impacts by using a boardwalk through the wetland and minimizing vegetation clearing through careful trail construction.
The rerouted trail will connect with the network of 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 the popular park and forest. The trails will be built to city specifications allowing increased and enjoyable access for people as well as protecting this important habitat for wildlife and the ecology of the forest.
Special Thanks to our Professional Trail TEAM:
Gerry Wilbour, NW Trails
Perry Welch, Welch Environmental
Andy Law, Wilson Engineering
Chris Webb, Herrera Environmental Consultants
Jim LaHatt, LaHatt Engineering
John Gillaspy, Materials Testing & Consulting, Inc.
Josh Neyman, City of Bellingham, Parks and Recreation
In addition to our individual donors, we especially thank the Bellingham-Fairhaven Lions Club, Satterberg Foundation, Patagonia Foundation, Brio Laundry, Alcoa Intalco Works Village Books, La Fiamma Pizza/Fiamma Burger, Stones Throw Brewery, Trayvax and Brett McCandlis Brown
Phase I: Pictured below LEFT is the previous trail that went through the wetland. Below to the RIGHT is the new trail alignment with an accessible trail for all to enjoy.