County in Washington approves trail plan for new 8,844-acre Lake Whatcom parkland

Building the first 27 miles of proposed trails in new Whatcom County parkland that straddles Lake Whatcom will cost about $2.3 million. That’s one of the details in the recreational trail plan for the parkland, which was created by the transfer of 8,844 acres of forest land around Lake Whatcom from the state to the county in 2014.

The County Council approved the plan, which will guide park development in the coming years. The plan proposes an eventual 98 miles of trails, which will include an existing 10 miles of county parks trails.

Full buildout will cost an estimated $7.4 million, is expected to take years and will depend on the availability of money and assistance from recreation groups – much like what’s been seen with trail development in parkland in the Chuckanuts.

The trail plan is for what’s now being called Lookout Mountain Forest Preserve and Lake Whatcom Park. The names are working titles to delineate separate parcels of the transferred acres, which are adjacent to the preserve and park.

The goal of the transfer was to balance nonmotorized recreation – hiking, running, mountain biking and horseback riding – and protecting water quality in Lake Whatcom by preventing development. The lake is the drinking water source for nearly 100,000 residents of Bellingham and Whatcom County.

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