Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
Tour of the Bellingham Bay to Baker Trail with Mayor Linville
Todd Elsworth

I can’t keep a secret. So, when I heard the exciting news that our Mayor was going to speak at Sunset Pond about about the soft opening of the next segment of the Bellingham BAY to BAKER trail, I had to share.  Thank you to our fair city’s Nicole Oliver, for her words (and map below) from the city’s press release!

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“Next Monday, October 17 at 3:00 p.m., the City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department and Mayor Kelli Linville are hosting a unique opportunity to tour a critical segment of the Bay to Baker Trail before it officially opens for public use.” – COB PR.

The event will be held at Sunset Pond, which is also an excellent place for relaxation and reflection.  There are benches and picnic tables to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds.

sunsetpond

At the event, “Mayor Linville, Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Bryson, and other key city staff and community members will be present to share background history of the trail project and highlight the great work that has been completed, as well as provide information on future phases of trail development and the Squalicum Creek Re-route project.” – COB PR.

The new trail corridor provides great connectivity and lays the groundwork for a substantial next step in this project.

baytobakerfunded

Here’s some context of the magnitude of this project,  “Planning for the Squalicum Creek segment of the Bay to Baker Trail began in the early 1970’s, and has been a community wide desire for decades,” explained Leslie Bryson, Parks and Recreation Director. The new multi-modal trail is nearly 1.5 miles long starting near Cornwall Park, extending under I-5, past James Street to Irongate Road with a connection to Sunset Pond Park.” – COB PR.

View of the trail near Bug Lake as it follows the old rail line in a straight shot eastbound toward the mountains.

baytobakersbuglake
As you follow the path east, you’ll hear the rushing of traffic overhead. I imagine that it is the sounds of a flowing river to soften the experience. When you pass under I-5 you get a glimpse of the extensive work that has been done to improve Squalicum Creek for fish passage and providing habitat for other wildlife.

baytobakeri5The large logs have been placed in the re-routed creek bed to help sediment build and create cool shelter for our anadromous heroes.

baytobakerlogs

I’m curious to learn what these numbers signify! Come out and learn.

baytobakercob5

Continuing east, you’ll see the new James Street bridge ahead. The new path veers off to the left and crosses at the intersection of James St. and E. Orchard.

baytobakerjamesstbridge

As of today, the work has been completed this far down the path, and shows off the impressive engineering and structures that are being put in place.

“Funded with $1.1M in Greenways III Levy funds and a $500k Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program Grant, this 10 foot wide, limestone trail features three culvert crossings and one steel bridge, all of which have been designed for safe fish passage and to accommodate the 100 year flood event.” COB PR.

Here’s a peek at the progress of the bridge and one of the culverts.

baytobakerbridgeculvert
Trail Opening: Monday, October 17 at 3:00 p.m at Sunset Pond.

“Parking is limited. Please plan to walk, ride your bike or carpool to this event.  For complete details, see the city website. City staff hope to see you on October 17 for a sneak peak of the trail!” – COB PR

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About the Author:

As the Executive Director of Recreation Northwest and the founder of the Bellingham Traverse and co-founder of Kulshan Quest Adventure Race, 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.