Galbraith Tree Farm LLC Protects Mountain Trails from Future Development


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.

Galbraith Mountain Recreation And Conservation Easements

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.

Contact: Ian Smith
Phone: (360) 738-9033



The RJ Group