New playground, parking spaces being built at two Whatcom County parks

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 13, 2013 

Hikers will have easier access to Lookout Mountain Preserve and kids will get a new playground at Silver Lake Park and when two projects totaling $385,000 are completed at the recreation areas near Sudden Valley and Maple Falls respectively.

Both started this June.

Project crews will create a new trailhead and parking for 29 vehicles, put up an information kiosk and trail signs, and install a bathroom for the preserve off Lake Louise Road near Sudden Valley.

The 369-acre preserve, which has four miles of trail, was jointly acquired by the city of Bellingham and Whatcom County in 2002.

It features a forested foothill south of Lake Louise Road and Sudden Valley and steep ravines that form the headwaters of Austin and Beaver creeks.

The $270,000 project is expected to be completed by Sept. 1 and will expand parking that previously allowed for four to six vehicles on one shoulder.

Most of the money for the project will come from real estate excise tax funds, with a donation from the Whatcom Land Trust.

Near Maple Falls crews will replace the old playground at Silver Lake Park, which is off the road of the same name.

The cost will be about $115,000, and money will come from the real estate excise tax funds.

The new equipment also will comply with rules for accessibility for the disabled as well as current safety rules.

The existing equipment no longer complies with rules, said Rod Lamb, design and development supervisor for Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department.

The new playground will include two play areas, one for toddlers and another for children 5 to 12 years old.

"Right now, it's sort of a single structure that tries to accommodate everyone," Lamb said. "If you have a 3-year-old, it's probably not ideal."

The project will be done by July 4, which is the start of the busy season at Silver Lake.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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