Whatcom Creek Trail, 1995-Present

City of Bellingham, WA


Sahale has been a trails consultant to the City of Bellingham, WA since 1995, participating in the development and implementation of a master trail plan for Whatcom Creek Greenway. The Greenway protects a five mile long stretch of river which originates at Lake Whatcom, flows through wildland, residential, industrial, and downtown sections of the City of Bellingham, and ultimately terminates at Bellingham Bay. Distinctive to this river corridor are rich riparian ecosystems, mature second growth forests, anadromous fisheries, and both active and passive recreational activities.

The objective of this project was to accommodate the needs of various recreational user groups without compromising the fragile riparian natural communities of Whatcom Creek. Sahale, working in conjunction with Nakano Associates Landscape Architects, identified appropriate travel corridors for pedestians and bicyclists, located comprehensive linkages to urban bicycle routes, developed initial trail tread and structure design guidelines, produced cost estimates for various trail development scenarios, recommended development phasing schedules, and estimated annual maintenance costs.

The principles of ecological sustainability guided the establishment of design and construction parameters for trails and trail structures, to ensure a minimum of disruption to natural communities during the master planning and construction phases of the project.