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Saturday, June 6, 2020

New biking paths open on Galbraith

By Micah Evangelista

Two new trail zones opened on Galbraith Mountain last week, further expanding Bellingham’s immense backyard playground.

Overlooking the new Cedar Dust skills area, the multiple trails look like snakes, entangled and weaving in and out of one another down the mountain. The trails are layered start to finish with jumps, drops and just about everything in between.

The zone was built in an area that was freshly logged a year ago, bringing new life to the now treeless forest.

As one rider takes two hard pedals and begins the trail, others watch through a cloud of soil kicked into the air from the spinning tires. The once golden brown dirt has turned to dust under the scorching sun.

But the heat and dry conditions haven’t stopped anyone.

Ross Manning, 21, pedals back to the top with a wide grin on his face. Manning, who works at a credit union outside of Bellingham, is currently on his first mountain bike ride in over four years.

“It feels amazing to be out here again,” Manning said. “I feel like this is what I’ve been needing, a place to clear my mind and just truly have fun.”

Ross Manning rides his bike on the new trail, Mohawk, on Galbraith Mountain. // Photo by Micah Evangelista

For many Bellingham residents, the trails offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, allowing them to find creativity and a rush of adrenaline in the outdoors.

“I left work early to come ride,” Peter Funston said jokingly.

Funston, who grew up in Bellingham, has rediscovered his love for mountain biking.

“Today I stopped at the lookout above one of the trails. Overlooking where the forest meets the lake, I thought about how lucky we are to enjoy such a beautiful place of recreation, in such an accessible area,” Funston said.

But it’s not only Bellingham residents—out of towners venture from all over the country and world to get their share of more than 45 miles, and over 2,800 acres of land that Galbraith has devoted to trails of all shapes and sizes.

“I try to do a road trip every few years, and I always make sure to save a few days for Galbraith,” Steven Waldron, 57, said. Waldron is from Sun Valley, Idaho, where he works as an elementary school teacher.

Waldron explained that in the years he’s been coming to Galbraith, he’s found something new to ride every time.

The other trail that opened last week is called Mohawk. The trail, envisioned and built by Bellingham local Andy Grant, is an advanced, high-speed, bobbing and weaving jump trail that twists its way through luscious green second-growth forest from the summit of the mountain.

“I am very stoked that Mohawk is open,” Grant said. “Spencer Baldwin, Cole Cook and I have been working on the trail since September. The three of us worked with Eric Brown, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition trail director, to coordinate the project,” Grant said.

Grant has lived in Bellingham for more than 17 years and is looking forward to more projects like Mohawk.

“I am excited to transition into building more public trails,” he said. “It is very rewarding knowing that a large percentage of the population gets to enjoy our work.”

“In the past few years, there has been a huge grassroots movement,” Char Waller said.

Waller, 12-year Bellingham resident and four-year Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition staff member, serves as the Director of Education for the coalition.

Waller has become passionate in sharing mountain biking and trail building with the future generations and has developed multiple after-school ride programs to get students involved with mountain biking and trail building.


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