Monday, March 5th, 2018
Bellingham Volkssporting – Out with the Tulip Trekkers
Todd Elsworth

Interested in walking, but prefer to walk with others? Volkssporting might be the perfect outdoor activity for you.

Volkssporting Clubs are a worldwide phenomenon – even up here in Bellingham in the upper left corner (aka “The Fourth Corner”) of the contiguous 48 states. Based out of Mount Vernon to the south, The Northwest Tulip Trekkers, host events and maintain boxes of maps around the area. On both the guided and self-led walks, you can also have a passport book that gets stamped, showing that you have completed the 5-6K or 10K options.

We wanted to go on a guided walk in a local park with a group of folks who know their way around.¬† Planning ahead, I went to The Northwest Tulip Trekkers online calendar to see what they had to offer. I chose one of the parks closest to my home in Bellingham, Cornwall Park. Sure, I’ve been there a bunch and even written a variety of stories about what you can do, but there’s always more to learn. It was going to be fun to get out and meet some new folks and also check the level of the creek!

In addition to the group walks, the club website also offers what they refer to as Everyday Walks. In cities that support these walks, there are locations that have boxes of maps for you to pick up and give yourself and some friends a guided tour.¬† Here’s the box hosted at the Haggen grocery store in Bellingham – location¬†showing off the international sticker.

The Saturday group gathered together in the grocery store parking lot and self-selected which loops that they were going to go on for the day. The 6K loop winds through the local neighborhoods around Broadway and Cornwall Parks. The 10K loop included Lorraine Ellis Park,  Elizabeth Park, Squalicum Creek Park, Ellis Ave. and Cornwall Park.

It was a hearty group of folks who ranged from Seattle, Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Lynden and Birch Bay and points in between. We gathered together to document the day’s attendance with a photo. The Trekkers are an inviting group that welcomes strangers with open arms. It is a volunteer-led group that comes together regularly to enjoy the simple pleasures of walking outdoors. They are quite the social network!!

We chose to go on the shorter 6K loop. Our smaller group headed out into the local neighborhood to check out the variety of classic craftsman architecture homes, comparing them to more modern lines of the new houses being built along the sidewalk lined streets. There’s not much traffic on the smaller side streets that wind around Broadway Park.

It was a lackadaisical January day to be walking around in Bellingham. Especially with the routes that the Volkssporting clubs lead you on,¬† you¬† “get to know things better when they go by slow“. You also won’t have to worry too much about going in the “busy areas” of Bellingham as the walk winds through the less traveled streets.

Along with the proliferation of local libraries sprouting up around communities, I’m always intrigued by the homemade birdhouses and other personal touches people have on display in their yards.

Our group stayed on task and on track! We made it to and through Cornwall Park in good time and the new friends that we had made were willing to do a couple takes to get the following shot.

Compare the photo below to the first photo of the bridge in the story to see the reference to the water level referred to earlier. This was as high as I’ve ever seen the creek!!

Just past the bridge is another, often overlooked, the point of interest. It’s a marker for the Old Telegraph Road that planned to connect the US and Europe by telegraph, set in place by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

There are many points of interest to find along the way of the Cornwall Park walk or the numerous Volkssporting walks in Bellingham.

The other Bellingham routes show off:

Cordata
Fairhaven
Northeast #Trail 1: Whatcom Falls – Blodel Donovan Park
Northeast #Trail 2: Lake Whatcom Trail
Northeast #Trail 3: Northridge-Big Rock Garden

Northwest #Trail 1: Cornwall Park
Northwest #Trail 2: Marina

Other Volkswalks in Whatcom County include Blaine РPeace Arch Park, Ferndale and Lynden. You can find details on their website for the Everyday Walks.

You may also want to check out these groups too:

American Volkssport Association

International People’s Sport Association

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About the Author:

As the co-Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play. He enjoys biking, hiking, paddling, skiing and will try anything twice. Get connected at RecreationNorthwest.org.