I would like to provide a brief overview of where we see the role of our organization, Recreation Northwest, as volunteer stewards of Fairhaven Park and the Chuckanut Community Forest lands and trails. Here is my account of how our organization got involved from the beginning: Recreation Northwest as Community Stewards of Fairhaven Park.
This is is an opportunity for Recreation Northwest to demonstrate the direct implementation of our mission to “promote outdoor recreation and bring people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.” As committed stewards of Fairhaven Park and the Community Forest, we have identified the needs in the community and have positioned ourselves to be able to fill the void.
To begin with, people have been asking, “How can you do this trail work if there isn’t a master plan in place to know what the future holds?” We have worked with local professionals and the city to agree that there are critical areas that provide access to the trails in the forest. These access points will not change, and with that confidence began our first steps with Phase ONE.
Beginning with Phase ONE, we will be able to start with a small success of building a piece of the puzzle that will be put together over time. This trail relocation project will move the access trail from Fairhaven Park into a better location on higher ground. The trail will also connect Fairhaven Park and the 18th Street Entrance. Read: Status Update from October 2, 2014.
Phase TWO will get us a bit deeper into the woods. The perceived plan is to find a better way across the wetland as the trail system moves up hill to connect with the network of trails into the woods. We will also be working towards providing a lesser grade trail to get up the hill that currently is unsustainable.
During our fundraising campaign, I heard many questions and concerns about the future use of the woods and the trail network. Phase THREE and beyond will lead us down a much more complex and involved path that has yet to be fully scoped. We are confident that we as a community can do it, together. As we work to do these projects we consider the balance of conservation and recreation in our approach. Our role may be in helping host community discussions as we work with the city to come up with a master plan sooner than later.
This is the first step in a much larger project that holds the potential to be a demonstration site of logical, thoughtful and sustainable recreational land-use design. The possibilities that this land holds are endless and with Recreation Northwest leading the charge, we are confident that we will win-win.
and improve the places where we play.
Todd Elsworth is one of the many “Mossy-haired lunatics roaming the dripping peninsulas”, described in “I’m Here for the Weather” by Tom Robbins. As executive director, he works to fulfill our mission to teach the health benefits of nature, promote outdoor recreation, and steward the places where we play.