FERNDALE - Whatcom County parks is once again staffing Tennant Lake Interpretive Center and leading recreational outings this summer, thanks to a relationship with two universities and their two volunteer interns.
That means visitors will be able to drop in at the center four days a week - Thursday through Sunday through August - as well as take guided tours of area attractions such as Tennant Lake, Hovander Homestead Park and Fragrance Garden.
The interns, Jordan Prescott and Laura Rich, are in recreation programs at Western Washington University and Humboldt State University respectively.
They also will lead weekly excursions to county parks and trails.
It's the first time in roughly 11/2 years that the Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department has been able to provide outdoor recreational opportunities and to staff the interpretive center, located in Hovander Homestead Park, near Ferndale.
Those activities were discontinued because of state and county budget cuts. With less money, the county instead focused resources on caring for its parks, trails and preserves.
The partnerships with the universities help the county as tight finances continue and provide students with experience in their field.
"We're real excited about this initiative," said Erik Axelson, county parks operations manager.
"This is kind of a challenge that we've taken up that Executive (Jack) Louws has put forward to find creative models to expand what we do for the citizens without costing additional taxpayer dollars," Axelson added. "We'll see how it works out this summer."
Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department is once again staffing Tennant Lake Interpretive Center and offering programs through there, along with other outdoor excursions this summer.
Tennant Lake Interpretive Center will be staffed noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, through August.
During that time, drop-in guided tours of Tennant Lake, Hovander Homestead Park and Fragrance Garden will be offered.
Family bicycle tours of trails and rural byways around Ferndale also will be offered. The summer program will close with a family campout at the center Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
Afternoon trips are scheduled July 18 through Aug. 22.
A beach walk and ferry ride at Semiahmoo County Park on Friday, July 20; and two hikes at Canyon Lake Community Forest on Wednesday, Aug. 15.
Bike tour of Lummi Island on Wednesday, July 25; and biking excursions on the Interurban Trail on Wednesday, July 18, and on newly refurbished trails at Silver Lake Park on Wednesday, Aug. 22.
The afternoon outings are limited to 24 people and require registration. They're free, except for the cost of a ferry ride to Lummi Island.
Details and to register: Call the parks department at 360-733-2900.
The parks department also will have additional details on its website, co.whatcom.wa.us/parks, beginning Monday, July 16.