Getting to Canyon Lake Community Forest will be easier until Aug. 28

Hikers have until Aug. 28 to enjoy easier access to Canyon Lake Community Forest, which boasts old-growth trees and views of Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters.

Sierra Pacific Industries has opened some gates until Aug. 28 to the public to allow vehicle access for hunting through an agreement with the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

That, in turn, gives hikers vehicle access to the forest via road CL-1000, which eventually becomes North Fork Road. That cuts about 6 miles off the walk or bike ride otherwise required just to get to the forest on the main route.

“We’re asking folks to be respectful. These are private timberlands they’re driving through,” said Michael McFarlane, director for Whatcom County Parks and Recreation.

His department manages the community forest, which was acquired and developed in partnership with the conservation group Whatcom Land Trust and Western Washington University.

The 2,266-acre site east of Deming is managed as a reserve that boasts mountain trails, a lake, a stand of 1,000-year-old trees and fossils of tropical plants that are 50 million years old.

Sierra Pacific Industries owns the private logging road, off Mosquito Lake Road, that had previously provided vehicle access to the community forest.

The county has an easement that allows the public on the road, Canyon Lake Road, which has been closed because of damage caused by winter storms. The most recent closure has continued since the winter of 2008-2009, requiring people to park elsewhere and then bike or hike around a gate and into the forest.

McFarlane said county officials met with Sierra Pacific recently about restoring vehicle access to the community forest, but didn’t provide details.

“The best I can say is, we continue to work on that,” he said.

You don’t need a Discover Pass or Northwest Forest Pass to park at the trailhead to the community forest.

Find information and maps online at whatcomcounty.us/1967/Canyon-Lake-Community-Forest.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea