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You could get a little more trail for your ambles in Whatcom Falls Park this summer

eabell@bhamherald.com

Eleven new parking spaces and nearly one-third of a mile of new trail off Woburn Street are planned for this summer.

The $517,000 project, including construction, would be on the western edge of Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham.

People have until Jan. 25 to submit written comments on the proposal. Construction could start in July.

The new 1,648-foot trail section would help people get about without having to use their vehicles, according to Jonathan Schilk, landscape architect for Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department.

“It’s like a missing link in our trail system,” Schilk said, adding it would provide another access point to the Whatcom Creek Trail.

A $225,000 funding piece will come from settlement money for the June 1999 Olympic Pipe Line gasoline explosion and fire that killed three people and scorched more than a mile of the Whatcom Creek corridor, from Whatcom Falls Park nearly to Interstate 5.

The rest will come from Greenways III, a property tax levy voters approved in 2006 to pay for parks and other green spaces.

Parking would be built in an open space – where people already are parking – and is intended, in part, to keep people and their cars from spreading out.

The 8-foot-wide trail would go over an existing informal path that can be a muddy mess near where people now park.

The project also would affect about 950 square feet of wetlands – in the smallest of three wetlands in the area – as well as wetland buffers.

The city would compensate for the loss of wetland habitat, in part, by buying into Lummi Nation’s wetland bank at a cost of $6,000.

Send comments and requests for information to Steve Sundin, planner, at ssundin@cob.org; Planning and Community Development Department, City Hall, 210 Lottie St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Find documents for the project in Permit Center at City Hall.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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