Bellingham residents want more of these features in their parks and trails

The city’s residents love their parks and trails and use them often, according to survey results.

A total of 2,463 people responded to the Bellingham Parks and Recreation Community Survey that is being referenced as the city updates its plan for green spaces.

Of those who responded, 84% lived in Bellingham, 15% didn’t and the rest weren’t sure.

Among the findings:

27% of those who responded went to a Bellingham park, trail or park facility such as a pool or athletic field daily, 57% at least once a week and 14% at least once a month.

The top five features they’ve used in Bellingham’s parks, trails and open spaces, in order of favorites, are trails at no. 1, restrooms, benches, natural open spaces/habitats and open lawns.

The top five features they’d like more of in Bellingham, in order of desire, are trails at No. 1, natural open spaces/habitats, restrooms, swimming pools and trails like those found on Galbraith Mountain, a renowned mountain biking mecca just east of city limits.

What do those who responded to the survey want the city to spend parks money on the most?

A total of 35% want Bellingham to maintain and improve existing parks, trails and facilities, 33% want open space and habitat to be protected and 13% would like new trails.

43% said they didn’t participate in a parks or recreation program sponsored by the city in the past year.

Of those who did, 25% did so in programs for children and teens and 22% in programs for adults and seniors.

Leashed dogs walk on the trail around Squalicum Creek Park in Bellingham. Staff The Bellingham Herald file

If you go

Interested in the Parks Department’s update to its Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan?

Learn more at an open house set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, in the multi-purpose room at Bloedel Donovan Park, 2114 Electric Ave.

The draft plan will be presented then and you can give your feedback.

The State Recreation and Conservation Office requires cities to update their plans every six years to compete for grants.

Details: cob.org/news

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.