January 6, 2020

Stefanie Cilinceon, Environmental Education and Outreach Specialist Public Works Natural Resources
City of Bellingham
(360) 778-7971

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Event in Bellingham

The Bellingham community is invited to join the City of Bellingham, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and Washington Trails Association (WTA) at Whatcom Falls Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 20 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. This event is an opportunity to strengthen our “beloved community" by improving water quality and salmon habitat in a well-loved local park, honoring Dr. King's work and intent. Volunteers will enhance the area by planting native trees and shrubs along Whatcom Creek.

Working together to restore local habitat, we acknowledge there are many ways to strengthen our community. Volunteers can expand their support of Dr. King's vision of a “beloved community" – i.e. a community in which poverty, hunger and homelessness do not exist – by bringing donations of socks, handwarmers, gloves, hats, hygiene items, long johns and granola bars to this event for Lighthouse Mission

  • What: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Community Work Party
  • When: Monday, Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Whatcom Falls Park via the lower entrance on Silver Beach Road near the fish hatchery, at 1700 Silver Beach Road. Sign in at the tents.
  • Travel by bike or foot: The park is accessible by bike or foot. Find your bike route by visiting and your walking route by viewing a trail map of Whatcom Falls Park. A free bike valet service will be provided by Shifting Gears to safely store bikes during the event.
  • Travel by bus: Several Whatcom Transportation Authority bus routes serve the area, with a nearby stop at Electric Ave. Find your route using the online trip planner at
  • Travel by car: Parking and a FREE shuttle will be available from Bloedel Donovan Park, 2114 Electric Avenue. Carpooling is encouraged. Limited parking is available in Whatcom Falls Park via the Silver Beach Road entrance (from Lakeway Drive turn north on Silver Beach Road) or Electric Avenue entrance (at the intersection of Arbor Street and Electric Avenue).
  • Hosted by: The Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program, Bellingham Public Works Natural Resources, Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) and Washington Trails Association (WTA). This is a Parkscriptions Certified event.
  • Who: You, your friends and family, and other community members. All ages and capabilities welcome.
  • You need: Weather-appropriate clothing, long pants, closed-toe shoes and a full water bottle. Please bring donations of socks, handwarmers, gloves, hats, hygiene items, long johns and granola bars for the Lighthouse Mission.
  • We provide: Tools, gloves, instruction and refreshments, including free Papa John's pizza and Tony's coffee.
  • Educational Tours: After the work party and pizza, join City staff for an educational tour of Whatcom Creek or BTC Fisheries staff for a tour of the trout ponds. Tours will start at approximately 1:30 p.m.
  • Work party contact: Amy Brown, Bellingham Parks Volunteer Coordinator, at or 360-778-7136.
  • Details: RSVP is not required for this free event though if you are coming with a group larger than 10, an RSVP is appreciated. Unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 must provide a City & NSEA Youth Liability Release Form signed by their legal guardian to participate, which can be found at   

Overview of Restoration Efforts

The City of Bellingham, NSEA and WTA all work to strengthen our community by improving natural resources and the community's connection to them through habitat restoration, volunteer opportunities and trail maintenance work. The City has completed a number of habitat restoration projects just downstream of Whatcom Falls Park, including the Red Tail Reach, Cemetery Creek and Salmon Park projects, which provide important habitat for local salmonids and wildlife.

NSEA, a non-profit organization that strives to recover salmon by engaging the community in restoration, education and stewardship, implements habitat restoration throughout Whatcom County and works both independently of and collaboratively with the City of Bellingham to rally thousands of volunteers to local habitat restoration sites each year at their community work parties. The City offers additional volunteer opportunities to the community through the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program. The City and NSEA's work includes planting native plants to help wildlife, slow climate change, prevent streambank erosion, filter pollutants and reduce water temperature.

WTA mobilizes hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward and champion trails and public lands. From local parks to remote wilderness, WTA believes that when you build a connection with a place, you will be inspired to protect it. To that end, they are committed to making trails as accessible as possible. With the help of our community, they are making this a reality by activating advocates, inspiring volunteerism, providing inspiration in their Hiking Guide, and reducing barriers to hiking trails and public lands.

Habitat restoration in Bellingham is truly a shared effort and we all have a role to play. Come be a part of this effort on January 20. ​

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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