I’m proud to share an update on the status of our Fairhaven Park Project. Our Project Overview is provided below the Fairhaven Lion’s logo (scroll down)
The project plans are a collaborative effort with our TRAIL TEAM of professional contractors working with city staff and permitting agency representatives to help us create the best approach possible for this project and the health of the forest.
Our wetland biologist, Perry, has been my wing man throughout this project, helping to assemble all the parts and pieces that go into the various applications/permits. At the city, Josh Neyman, has been great to work with through this process and I appreciate his championing our efforts.
We are about to submit our Fairhaven Park Project permits to the appropriate agencies.
We are preparing to begin the mitigation planting of trees and shrubbery in Winter/Spring 2017. The next section of trail and wetland boardwalk construction for Phase 2 of our Fairhaven Park Project will be scheduled for Spring of 2017.
We appreciate the support that the community has shown for the next phase of our project. This is a process involving People, People and More People. Our funders, donors, volunteers, board members, trail team and partners are the people who have come together to make this happen.
Together, we are making this happen! Stay tuned for our December work party dates with gatherings at Stone’s Throw Brewery afterwards.
Fairhaven Park TRAIL TEAM
Perry Welch, Welch Ecological Services, Wetland Biologist
Gerry Wilbour, NW Trails, Trail Builder
Andy Law, Wilson Engineering, Surveying
Tom Brewster, Wilson Engineering, Surveying
Jim LeHatt, LeHatt Engineering, Structural Engineer
Chris Webb, Herrera Environmental Consulting, Civil Engineer
John Gillaspy, Materials Testing & Consulting, Inc., Geotechnical Division Manager
City staff and permitting agency representatives
Leslie Bryson, City of Bellingham, Parks Director
Marvin Harris, City of Bellingham, Park Operations Manager
Clayton Snyder, City of Bellingham, Parks Maintenance
Josh Neyman, City of Bellingham, Park Project Specialist
Rae Edwards, City of Bellingham, Greenways Volunteer Coordinator
Kim Weil, City of Bellingham, Critical Areas
Jason Porter, City of Bellingham, Public Works Stormwater Engineer
Joel Ingram, Washington Dept. Fish and Wildlife, WRIA 1 Habitat Biologist
Randall Perry, US Army Corps of Engineers
Fairhaven Park Trail and Wetland Boardwalk Project Overview
Recreation Northwest is sponsoring Phase 2 improvements to portions of the trail system within City of Bellingham land in the woods south of Fairhaven Park, Bellingham WA.
Access to the trailhead is from Fairhaven Park past the upper shelter, cul-de-sac, maintenance shed, or from the 18th Street trail spur that was constructed in 2015 as part of Phase I. For Phase II, a rebuilt trail is planned to cross a forested wetland. There is an existing trail that traverses a forested wetland that will be abandoned and restored as mitigation for a new trail crossing.
The City owns contiguous forested land that extends from Fairhaven Park south to Chuckanut Drive and Old Samish Road.
The purpose of this project is to provide an improved gateway to the Chuckanut Forest. This trail system originates from both Fairhaven Park and 18th Street and provides one of the main northern entries to the Chuckanut Forest property. The existing trail crossing affects wetlands and is very muddy. The wet muddy conditions of the existing wetland crossing promotes straying off trail and pioneering of new unorganized routes that people can use during wetland months.
The re-aligned trail will replace the existing muddy trail with a crushed rock trail and boardwalk. The new alignment takes advantage of improved aesthetics and will help to channel passage across the wetland. The presence of wetlands generally extends from Cody Avenue to properties on the west side of the park and make the wetland crossing unavoidable. This project consolidates land usage, improves trail experience, and restores impacted wetlands.
The project plan includes development of an eight-foot wide crushed limestone trail similar to the Phase 1 trail, primarily for the non-critical areas and buffer areas. The trail footprint will be approximately 8 feet wide including a 1-foot wide shoulder on either side of the six-foot trail prism.
The wetland crossing will be a combination of crushed rock trail and a 40-foot boardwalk. Crossing the wetlands from the north will entail development of a 25-foot gravel trail segment underlain by burrito style structural fill to approach a 40-foot boardwalk that will cross various wetland drainage patterns.
On the south side of the boardwalk, a 30-foot long gravel trail segment will be developed. The width of the trail in the wetland sections may taper away from the structure as the trail will be slightly wider at the approaches to the boardwalk structure. The boardwalk crossing is going to be about 12-18” above ground surface.
Trail alignment has considered limiting disturbance to outside seepage corridors and will avoid the cutting of any trees. Trail alignment will avoid pockets in order to maintain sheet flow and to promote a naturally dry trail, why continuing to hydrate the wetland and allow water conveyance downslope.
Impacts to development of a trail in the wetland and buffer will be offset by the abandonment and rehabilitation of a nearly equal area of trail in the wetland at the existing impaired wetland and buffer location.
For the wetland mitigation, there will be approximately 120 lineal feet of trail abandonment in the wetland at an average width of 16.5 feet for a total estimated wetland trail abandonment and restoration of 1,980 ft² . Additional wetland rehabilitation will occur in the location where the phase 1 trail was abandoned for 692 ft² of mitigation. Total Wetland Mitigation is estimated at 2,672 ft² at a mitigation ratio of 4:1.
For the wetland buffer mitigation, the abandoned buffer trail will be restored to native vegetation on approximately 3,649 ft² of abandoned trail buffer. It may be necessary to conduct additional buffer mitigation in the abandoned phase 1 trail area. This would include blackberry removal and native plant establishment in both the wetland and the buffer areas of the field to achieve final mitigation credit requirements. This is pending outcome of the final draft plan and further detailing of specific mitigation elements.
Given seasonally wet and muddy conditions, trail improvements are needed to reduce the impact to wetlands. Development of a boardwalk across the wetland will provide a signature piece for the project, community, and funding donors.
-excerpted from Welch Ecological Services report. Thanks Perry!
To demonstrate the complexity and collaboration with the permitting of the project, provided is a list of the permits and agencies we have been working with through the process.
City of Bellingham – Critical Areas
City of Bellingham- Stormwater
City of Bellingham – Right of Way
City of Bellingham – Wetland permit
Hydraulic Project Approval – Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
State Environmental Policy Act Checklist – Washington State Dept. of Ecology
Army Corps of Engineers
JARPA Joint Aquatic Resource Permit Application
As Executive Director of Recreation Northwest, Todd Elsworth promotes outdoor recreation and brings community together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. His decades of extensive event production, marketing and writing experience propel this passion. You might bump into him and his daughter Violet while they’re biking, hiking, paddling or skiing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.