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Outdoors

New Park, New Opportunities

What the reconveyance means to you

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Late on the night of Tues., March 12, the excitement in the County Council chambers within the Whatcom County Courthouse was most decidedly not subdued. It was, in fact, euphoric. There was a spontaneous eruption of applause—and even some weeping.

After many hours of comments—ranging, as they always do, from the ridiculous to the sublime—by concerned citizens from both sides of the sociological divide, the council approved the reconveyance of almost 9,000 acres of land around Lake Whatcom from the State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to the Whatcom County Parks Department. It will be the eighth-largest county park in the United States. Essentially, for free (although relatively minimal costs will be incurred to process the reconveyance).

What does this mean for local recreationalists?

It means that in the years ahead, we will see many miles of new mountain biking and hiking trails, adding to our already impressive inventory.

The views from the high points of this new park are extraordinary, even world-class. Opportunities to link the new park with existing parklands will offer large-scale, in-depth recreational experiences on a truly epic level. Can you imagine a weekend backpacking trip high above the shores of Lake Whatcom?

What does it mean for local folks who don’t “recreate?”

Whatcom County, almost in spite of itself, is becoming known around the country (and the world) as a recreational destination par excellence. And no wonder! With outdoor activities that include superb hiking, biking, skiing, snowboarding, running, paddling, sailing and climbing, we can lay claim to a diversity of premier outdoor experiences that is without equal, anywhere.

This growing reputation as a recreational Garden of Eden means economic opportunity—in a big way and for everyone. Every business owner will benefit, and by extension, every taxpayer. As the word spreads, by inevitable word of mouth and hopefully by design, we will see ever-increasing numbers of visitors drawn to our corner of the country by this embarrassment of outdoor riches.

We will also see new businesses making the smart decision to relocate here. In the 21st century business world, recreational amenities play an ever-larger role in deciding where to settle.

And finally, we will see existing businesses finding new success in recruiting talented workers. Increasingly, quality-of-life issues are playing a larger and larger role for folks choosing career opportunities. How many people do you know who moved here for the quality of life?

The reconveyance was not easily achieved. It took years of what seemed like a never-ending uphill battle by a cast of thousands. Elected officials.  Nonprofits. Engaged citizens.
Now that it is a fait accompli, it is time to prove the point. The community will need to be fully engaged in the visioning process. Volunteers will be needed to help the Parks Department build trails.

The reconveyance makes a powerful statement about what we believe our future can become. A tipping point, perhaps.
This is our moment.

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Events
Today
A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Bellingham City Club Meeting

11:30am|Northwood Hall

Lynden Book Club

12:30pm|Lynden Library

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Fun with Fermentation

4:00pm|Blaine Library

Ukulele for Everyone

4:00pm|Everson Library

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Bokashi Composting

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Bebel Gilberto

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Teton Gravity Research's Tight Loose

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Bebel Gilberto

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books
Tomorrow
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

Ensembulele

4:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Final After-Hours Market

4:00pm|Depot Market Square

Autumn Soups

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Tame Your Inner Critic

7:00pm|Village Books

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Looking for Betty MacDonald

7:30pm|Village Books

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Swinomish 2016 Mount Baker Theatre
Friday
Eat Local Month

4:00pm|Bellingham and Whatcom County

A gold medal standard

4:00pm

Whatcom Water Week

10:00am|Whatcom County

The Music Man

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Miracle Worker

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Little Women

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Wild Things

9:30am|Whatcom Falls Park

Quilt & Fiber Arts Festival

10:00am|La Conner

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

1:00pm|Cherry Street

Get an edible education

4:00pm

Autumn Celebration Dinner

5:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Love, Loss and What I Wore

7:30pm|Heiner Auditorium

Hellingham

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Handling the truth

9:35pm

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Northwood Steak and Crab Everybody’s Store Mount Baker Theatre Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Swinomish 2016 Andrew Subin Artifacts Wine Bar Village Books Bellingham Farmer’s Market Zoots Side Bar CW BOB 2016