With more than 4,000 residents along the shore and in the wooded hills above Lake Whatcom, Sudden Valley is home to an 18-hole golf course, swimming, boating, hiking and its own recreation programs.
It’s also home to controversy. The summer housing community near Bellingham won county approval in 1969, then grew in fits and starts. Over time, growth in Sudden Valley and other parts of Lake Whatcom watershed prompted concern that development was hurting the lake, the source of drinking water for more than 86,000 residents.
Debate intensified when some people began the process to incorporate Sudden Valley. Opponents say that would hasten further development.
In May 1969, Whatcom County commissioners approved Sudden Valley’s first plat, for 158 lots west of Lake Whatcom Boulevard. Sanwick Corp. of Seattle paid $1.8 million for the 1,200-acre Glenn Corning ranch property.
Geneva Elementary, Kulshan Middle, Bellingham High.
District: Bellingham School District, www.bham.wednet.edu.
Beaver Ridge, North Point, Sofield, Marina, Morning Beach, Afternoon Beach, Picnic Point, Lake Louise, Tumbling Water, North Lake Whatcom, Stimpson Family Nature Preserve.
“Sudden Valley is a wonderful life unto itself, yet we’re still close to Bellingham. To me that’s the best thing, being away from town yet having easy access into town.”
Amory Peck, Sudden Valley resident for nine years