Aerial View of Bellingham Area
Photo Courtesy Nick Kelly / Faithlife Corporation & WMBC
Galbraith Mountain is the common name for the privately-owned, 3,125-acre woodlands and tree farm on North Lookout Mountain, overlooking the city of Bellingham and Bellingham Bay. In June of 2017, Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC purchased 2,240 acres of the property with the intent to sustainably harvest an average of about 50 acres per year depending on market conditions.
Galbraith Mountain also contains over 50-miles of mountain biking and hiking trails that local volunteers have been developing since the 1980's. The trail system is currently under the stewardship of the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), which took over the role in 2002. Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC supports continuing recreational access to the tree farm and looks forward to working together with WMBC and our local government agencies toward preserving and enhancing public access to this wonderful natural resource.
Bellingham, Washington (July 23, 2018) -- Galbraith Tree Farm LLC has taken the bold step of securing the public’s recreational use of 2,229 acre, including 46 miles of trails on Galbraith Mountain by selling easement rights to The City of Bellingham and Whatcom Land Trust. This sale of easement rights over Galbraith Mountain protects the mountain from future development in perpetuity.
The agreement includes both a recreational use easement and a conservation easement. Whatcom Land Trust contributed $250,000 to the purchase and the City of Bellingham Greenway Funds contributed $2.75 million for a total of $3 million. The sale is expected to close later this summer.
Galbraith Tree Farm LLC will continue to be an active participant in making Galbraith Mountain a safe and desirable recreational venue by participating in developing and implementing an operation and management plan with the City of Bellingham that will ensure coordination of recreational activities with Galbraith Tree Farm LLC’s forest practices. The planning and administrative process represents a significant long-term financial commitment from Galbraith Tree Farm LLC, ensuring that forest practices and recreation remain compatible.
Galbraith Mountain is located east of Bellingham’s city limits between Lake Padden and Sudden Valley, including 1,023 acres inside the Lake Whatcom watershed. The City easement will protect this valuable resource.
Maintained by volunteers with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, the trails are internationally renowned for mountain biking and hiking, but its largest user group is local residents many of whom access Galbraith Mountain without driving. According to a 2015 Economic Contribution of Outdoor Recreation to Whatcom County report prepared by Earth Economics for Recreation Northwest, the yearly total economic contribution of recreation in Whatcom County is $585 million, to which Galbraith Mountain is an important contributor.
The property is zoned for commercial forestry with ongoing managed timber harvesting occurring regularly, and both recreational use and logging have successfully coexisted for many years. Galbraith Tree Farm LLC purchased the tree farm from the Paulus Estate in 2017. It is under the management of Janicki Logging, a Sedro-Woolley-based company well-known and respected for its sustainable timber harvesting practices. It has been estimated that the annual average sequestration of carbon is 2,000 pounds per acre under properly managed sustainable forestry practices - Which translates to the whole of Galbraith Tree Farm sequestering more than 440,000 pounds of carbon per year.
“Tens of thousands of bikers, hikers and runners use the tree farm year-round,” said Rob Janicki, principal owner of Galbraith Tree Farm. “We have worked cooperatively with the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition since 2010 to preserve and enhance the public’s recreational use of the tree farm, and our excellent record of public safety is a hallmark of that outstanding cooperation.”
While the management plan is being developed and before the sale is completed, the City and Galbraith Tree Farm do not foresee any disruptions in public access for non-motorized recreational use.
BELLINGHAM, WA (July 5, 2017) -- Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC has announced the purchase of 2,240 acres of the tree farm at Galbraith Mountain. Timber management at the Bellingham, Washington tree farm will continue under Janicki Logging and Construction, which has managed operations since 2010.
“Galbraith Mountain is an integral part of the Bellingham community. We are proud to assume responsibility as its steward for the residents of, and visitors to, northwest Washington,” says Rob Janicki, founder of Galbraith Tree Farm LLC.
“One of the motivating factors behind the purchase of the tree farm at Galbraith Mountain was our desire to provide continued access to the 45-plus miles of trails that are used year-round by tens of thousands of bikers, hikers and runners,” says Kiersten Sahlberg of The RJ Group, the Bellingham-based firm representing Galbraith Tree Farm LLC.
Eric Brown, Trail Director for the nonprofit organization, Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition, says his organization has been working with Janicki Logging for the past seven years and are looking forward to continued mutual cooperation with Janicki Logging. “We are excited about having Galbraith Tree Farm LLC be the new landowners.”
Janicki Logging is well respected for its sustainable timber harvesting practices. With the tree farm at Galbraith Mountain now under ownership of Galbraith Tree Farm LLC, the company will expand on those practices, selling its crop to local manufacturers along the regional I-5 corridor and harvesting at sustainable levels.
“As residents and long-time business owners in the Bellingham area, we are passionate about working with our neighbors and our communities. Through the purchase of Galbraith Tree Farm, we hope to continue to grow and enhance our region in a positive and sustainable way,” says Sahlberg.
Photo courtesy of Tore Ofteness & WMBC
Logging operations will continue as usual. The annual average harvest area will be 50 acres, maintaining the approximate level of harvesting as in the past.
No. We do not anticipate any real changes in the next year. All existing trails will continue to be open for use. We will be working closely with the WMBC to apprise users of the mountain of any new activity and keep open a clear channel of communication.
Janicki Logging & Construction will continue management of logging operations on behalf of Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC, which is the owner of the tree farm. The RJ Group will spearhead the implementation of all other future “big picture” projects associated with the mountain.
Northside: The northside accesses the mountain at Birch St. from downtown Bellingham off of Lakeway Dr. with a parking lot and on street parking or park in Whatcom Falls Park and ride to the entrance. The Miranda trail gets you onto the mountain and from there you can access a number of trails options.
Southside: The southside is accessed via Samish Way with a parking lot directly across the street from Galbraith Lane road. Park here or at the Lake Padden parking area near the dog park.
When you go up Galbraith Lane, go straight towards the pipeline road and through the yellow gate. You will accesstrails like Last Call, New Issues and Lost Giants. Access to the tower road is now via Last Call to Gate and Switch or Last Call to Dog Patch.
Please send us your questions or comments. We would love to hear from the community about what YOU would like to see at Galbraith moving into the future!
Galbraith Tree Farm, LLC
103 N Township St
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1243