Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
Exploring the Hundred Acre Wood with Kids
Hilary Parker

An abundance of trails weaves through Bellingham’s Fairhaven Park and the Chuckanut Community Forest, which leads you to the Hundred Acre Wood. The trails consist of a two-mile loop, over easily walkable ground, and lets you have great access to nature.

Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

You can access the Hundred Acre Wood through Fairhaven Park, where parking and bathrooms are located. Here’s a map from the City of Bellingham, to give you a better understanding of the park and the land.

A map of the existing trail network and topography of Fairhaven Park. The Hundred Acre Wood is roughly located inside of the blue line.

Also known as the Chuckanut Community Forest, this wetland forest is filled with Douglas firs, tall cedars and cottonwoods. In the spring, look to the forest floor for bleeding hearts and delicate trilliums – showing off colors from pure white to pale pink to a deep orchid.

Trilliums, Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

I was thoroughly enchanted when, upon moving to Bellingham years ago, I learned there is a place here called the Hundred Acre Wood.

While I’m not certain if Pooh Bear and Tigger live in our woods, this locals-favorite for recreation is truly an enchanting place to be among the trees.

Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

 

The Hundred Acre Wood holds an important place in the hearts of Bellinghamsters; in 2013 voters agreed to tax themselves to save it from development.

Then in 2014, outdoor organization Recreation Northwest became park stewards for Fairhaven Park because they saw a potential impact on the trail run section of their Bellingham Traverse event. As trail stewards, they are passionate about dedicating time and resources to trail building for the environment, community and visitors. The first phase improved a section of trail linking to the nearby neighborhood. The second phase included building a boardwalk over what was traditionally a mucky, swampy trek leading into the forest from Fairhaven Park (the boardwalk is shown on the map above.)

Check out the past trail talks that have been hosted by Recreation Northwest around the Hundred Acre Wood, here.

Trail dedication, Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

In November 2017 Recreation Northwest dedicated a new section of trail that volunteers, community partners and the city has diligently been working to build.

To explore the new trail yourself, start behind the upper picnic shelter at Fairhaven Park. If your kids are like mine, they may decide to take a turn around the labyrinth first.

labyrinth, Fairhaven Park, Bellingham

Where the trail begins it is wide and relatively even – good for strollers or wheelchairs, for about a quarter of a mile. Here it runs through old fruit trees and native plants, including wetland mitigation that was part of the trail building project.

Soon the trail narrows and heads up into the forest with an easy incline. Sword ferns cover the forest floor and tall trees tower above.

Little girl and a big tree, Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

It’s not long before my littlest looks around and asks, “Is this an everlasting forest?”

It certainly seems that way as we wander through stands of evergreens then into low, swampy areas with slim cottonwoods overhead.

Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

And in keeping the Winnie-the-Pooh theme of the Hundred Acre Wood, we even saw a wise old owl. We were all amazed to catch a glimpse of the old fellow, a great horned owl, that we’d heard hooting for several minutes. But he was on to us, and with ruffled feathers flew deeper into the woods.

We only explored the forest for a little more than an hour; we certainly could have spent more time (but the snacks were in the car, and, you know…)

Kids at play, Hundred Acre Wood, Bellingham

Do keep in mind that when you’re out in the forest, it’s a wild place, and it could be easy enough to get turned around. If you’re not familiar with the area, pay close attention to the trails you take or have a map.

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About the Author:

Hilary Parker is a writer and editor living in Bellingham. She and her children love discovering all that Bellingham and Whatcom County have to offer.