A free guided tour of the new Chuckanut Community Forest on Sunday showcases a new program called Parkscriptions, aimed at addressing a range of health issues by encouraging more local residents to use the network of greenways around Bellingham.
“Most people still endearingly refer to it as the Hundred Acre Wood,” said Todd Elsworth of Recreation Northwest, a local nonprofit that promotes outdoor recreation and conservation. “It’s such a labyrinth of trails that most people have never gone in there.”
Elsworth said the event offers a two-mile walk through the forest southeast of Fairhaven Park and along a wetlands project where Recreation Northwest is building a boardwalk with financial support from the Fairhaven Lions Club. It introduces Parkscriptions, a collaboration among the local Family Care Network of medical clinics, Whatcom County Health Department and area parks departments.
Participants should meet at 11 a.m. near the upper pavilion at Fairhaven Park. There will be a brief description of the program and efforts to restore the area, followed by the walk, which should take about an hour, Elsworth said. Dress for the weather and wear boots, because portions of the trail are muddy.
Parkscriptions, or “ParkRx,” is part of National Park Prescription Day, which is Sunday, marking the end of National Park Week.
“It’s a nice two-mile loop that gives people the sense of what a magical place this is,” Elsworth said. “We see this as a way to connect with the national effort to encourage public spaces and getting people outside.”
Chuckanut Community Forest had been slated for housing construction, but voters in 2013 created a special taxing district to repay the City of Bellingham for an $8.2 million purchase of the land in 2011, which prevented development of the site, also known as Chuckanut Ridge.
▪ When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
▪ Where: Fairhaven Park, 107 Chuckanut Drive North
▪ Trail: Two miles over mostly level ground, taking approximately one hour. Dress for the weather and wear boots.