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Port of Bellingham plans these temporary park features to draw people to the waterfront

‘Pump track’ at Bellingham’s Whatcom Falls Park

An off-road bicycle 'pump track' was built in Spring 2017 in Whatcom Falls Park. A second track is planned for Bellingham’s central waterfront and could open late summer 2019.
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An off-road bicycle 'pump track' was built in Spring 2017 in Whatcom Falls Park. A second track is planned for Bellingham’s central waterfront and could open late summer 2019.

Construction of a bike “pump track” on the city’s central waterfront could begin in the next couple of months and open later this summer, a Port of Bellingham official said.

The port is building the track on part of the former Georgia-Pacific property, which is being redeveloped as the 237-acre waterfront district — a project that’s expected to take decades.

A “pump track” is a looped circuit made up of berms, banked turns and rollers. The goal is to ride without pedaling but by pumping your body up and down to gain momentum.

The “pump track” will be temporary, though it’s being built within the footprint of what will eventually be a new park, Mike Hogan, spokesman for the Port of Bellingham, told The Bellingham Herald.

It will have areas for all ages.

The goal is to get people down to the waterfront and, once they’re there, to give them something to do sooner rather than later.

Pump Track site.jpg
A temporary bike pump track that is expected to be built on the former Georgia-Pacific site on the central waterfront in Bellingham. The track, set to be near the two orange-tiled tanks, could open in summer 2019. Kie Relyea The Bellingham Herald

“We know the site’s going to take quite a few years to develop,” Hogan said. “This is really aimed at how do we get folks down and actively using the site until the full build-out happens, and the park gets developed.”

The track will be about 20,000 square feet, which is slightly larger than the “pump track” at Whatcom Falls Park, according to Hogan.

It will be built in front of the two orange-tiled tanks that were once used to store pulp.

Pump Track & Single Track Sidewalk Concept.jpg
A temporary bike “pump track” is expected to be built on the former Georgia-Pacific site on the central waterfront in summer 2019. Port of Bellingham Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

As part of the project, the port also will build a single-track trail with mountain bike features and a crushed limestone walking trail this summer to improve public access and to get people down to the waterfront.

As for the project’s cost, that isn’t known yet. The project still must go out to bid.

The Port of Bellingham Commission last year approved a budget of $150,000 for interim uses, such as this project.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.
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