With the start of the New Year, we were ready to get going after years of planning and preparation.
For background: Recreation Northwest Outdoor Classroom Project Overview-Fairhaven Park (PDF)
We had a machine from Hardware Sales, materials to be delivered by Dan at Alger Sand & Gravel, Cowden, and Northstar. Crank it out! “We” is me and Chris Mellick – Ride, Run, Dig. He’s the artist behind building our Recognition Rock Wall. Mellick is a professional hardscape design & construction mastermind and a long time Whatcom County mountain biker and trailbuilder. And yes, one of my “besties”, as my daughter would say.
On January 4th, 2023, with Chris Mellick at the wheel, it was time to get some work done! Here’s Chris firing up the Bobcat. For reference, we’re staged at the end of 18th Street at the trailhead to the Hundred Acre Wood in our project site for the Wetland Trail and Boardwalk we built.
The first task was to clear the English Ivy that covered the ground to create an access path for our materials that will eventually become an ADA accessible entrance to our Amphitheater.
With the path cleared, Mellick moved into the blackberry patch clearing we created with volunteers from Phillips 66 Ferndale Refinery back in 2021. They also came back out in 2022 and shared their Good Energy as one of their community stewardship projects with Recreation Northwest.
This cordoned off area has been a wide open patch of mulch where we plan to create terraces and install benches. Our recently installed interpretive signs are visible beyond the orange safety fence in the middle of the photo.
We were ready for Dan to show up with the rocks we had selected from his stockpile on Old Samish Way. Here is is with our first load of materials.
Action, real action!!
This pile of rocks will be transformed into a retaining wall and make up key elements in our Adventure Rock Trail.
Next UP! A large delivery of base course material from COWDEN.
That sure would be a lot to move by hand. Good thing we got the machine!!
Mellick tackles the pile.
Before you know it there’s a base course layer laid to the beginnings of our access trails into the Outdoor Classroom Amphitheater.
All in a days work. Next come the hand picked rocks to be laid at the edges of the “creek bed”
The large rocks will also be one of the retaining walls. First we laid down fabric, then covered it with base course material and then pounded it all into submission in the ground. The material makes for a stable foundation. It’s volcanic!!
The rocks don’t just drop themselves in place, each one needs to be listened to and worked into place.
Site preparation for the retaining walls that will create terraces for space for our benches!
More BIG Chuckanut Sandstone boulders dropped in place for the adventure trail.
Mellick pointing to the end or beginning of the adventure trail- it’s all how you look at it. Landscape is ready for blocks to build the walls.
Safety FIRST! We only had to close down direct access to 18th Street for a short time, with a minimal detour.
Looks like a big clean empty lot! Exactly. This is part of our proof to show compliance with our Stormwater Permit with City of Bellingham for the staging of our equipment and materials. Leave it cleaner than you found it!!
Another delivery!! These “river rocks” are from Northstar Landscaping to build out the adventure trail. Nice to have them dropped uphill of the project.
Another delivery from Dan! This time it’s crushed limestone to top off the base course and clean up other elements of our existing trail, rock bench and park bench areas.
Before you know it- the pile is gone and the entrance from 18th St. just got that much nicer.
Yes, we accomplished a lot in the first week! On to Week Two…
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.