October 11, 2021

Todd Elsworth
Recreation Northwest
(360) 739.8458

Recreation Northwest Donates $100,000 in the 11th Hour to Complete Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition's Samish Way Parking Lot Project

On Saturday, October 9th, Todd Elsworth, Executive Director of Recreation Northwest, presented a check for $100,000 on behalf of an Angel donor to the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) at the Shoot the Trails fundraising event, helping to complete their goal to build a safe public parking lot on South Samish Way.

The new parking lot will make it safer for bikers and hikers to access the south entrance to Galbraith Mountain and the Padden trail networks. Since COVID, mountain biking, like other outdoor activities, has seen an explosion of growth, particularly popular among youth riders. WBMC’s after-school programs, two popular Bellingham girl’s programs, and the Vamos Outdoor Project have helped more than 200 young riders access the trails.

Executive Director of the WMBC, Eric Brown commented, “With the parking lot complete, we won't have little kids trying to exit their parents’ cars on a road where people often drive 50mph (or faster) and road riders will have more of a shoulder to safely ride their bikes again. The issue of safe access has reached a critical point for safety concerns.”

Like WMBC’s youth riders, Recreation Northwest’s Angel donor sought refuge during the shutdown, walking the trails from Fairhaven Park’s boardwalk into the 100 Acre Woods to get outside. This is how she came to support Recreation Northwest and their mission to help protect, enjoy and improve the outdoor places we play. Using Recreation Northwest as a conduit, the Angel made the 11th-hour donation to complete the WMBC’s parking project.

Elsworth said, “Recreation Northwest and WMBC have worked together over the years to help further our shared values as related to our complimentary mission statements. When our Angel donor offered to help our friends get their parking lot to the finish line, we were ecstatic to be able to offer the gift.”

The collaboration between Bellingham Parks, the City of Bellingham, and the generous support from the private sector made the Samish Way parking lot project possible, improving infrastructure and safer access to world-class trail systems that benefit people of all ages.

Recreation Northwest is committed to fostering relationships with public and private entities who support outdoor recreation and preservation. The organization is dedicated to protecting and preserving outdoor spaces and they also offer daily nature education and outdoor recreation experiences that help the public learn how to recreate responsibly.

About Recreation Northwest: Recreation Northwest is a Bellingham, WA–based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting outdoor recreation and bringing people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.

Recreation Northwest provides opportunities for beginner and intermediate experiences learning outdoor recreation skills; enjoying the health benefits of being mindful in the outdoors through immersive experiences in nature, and having a local guide lead you by foot or bike to connect our parks and our people through adventure and storytelling.

For more information, visit

About The Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC): Mission: To preserve and enhance non-motorized trail access in Whatcom County through stewardship, education & advocacy. The Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC) is a federal non-profit, 501(c)3, organization. We work with many diverse groups such as land managers, elected officials and educational institutions to promote continued and expanded access for mountain biking and cycling.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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