Usually here on the blog I’m raving about my latest hike, outdoor adventure or weekend getaway. I’m pretty much always jumping up and down about why more people should add Washington State to their USA itinerary. Or encouraging those who already call this beautiful state home to take opportunities to explore it further.
But today I need to discuss something a little closer to home. Something that is affecting life here in Washington: why we need to save Blanchard Mountain.
One of my favourite hiking trails, Oyster Dome, is at risk of being destroyed by logging.
I’ve mentioned the Oyster Dome frequently on Live Recklessly. You may have even read this post after I hiked it for the first time back in 2015. The moment I summited Oyster Dome and caught the epic views across the Salish Sea was pretty much the moment I fell in love with Washington. From that day on hiking has been a huge part of my life here, as it is for many locals.
Why we need to save Blanchard Mountain
Located south of Bellingham, Blanchard State Forest is a hugely popular recreation area among locals and tourists. It’s estimated that nearly 100,000 people visit every year to hike its famous trails, mountain bike or horse ride.
Some come just to picnic at the beautiful Samish Overlook, or spot the diverse wildlife that live in this habitat.
However, many in the community are worried that the State Government will no longer protect this area from logging. Back in 2007, logging attempts were saved with the Blanchard Forest Strategy Agreement. Essentially, 1600 acres of the Blanchard State Forest were protected so long as the Department of Natural Resources could purchase replacement lands for logging. The issue now is that $7.7 million of funding from the Washington State Legislature is still needed.
Without this funding, logging in the Blanchard State Forest could commence as early as this summer.
The Save Blanchard Mountain movement aims to put pressure on the government to fund the protection of this beautiful area.
We need to protect views like these, the only place where the mighty Cascades meet the sea.
And we need to protect trails like these.
Last week I had the pleasure of hiking the beautiful Oyster Dome for a second time. The weather was so fantastic we extended the hike to Lily Lake, which was still under a little blanket of snow.
However the hike was bittersweet. Every time I turned a switchback through the dense, mossy forest or took in those beautiful bay views, I felt the harsh reality that this may be the last time I am able to hike these trails.
There are few places in this world that offer such untouched natural beauty. And sadly, many people have to fight like hell to keep them that way. In the constant battle between preserving our natural areas versus selling them for profit – more often than not, beautiful spots are destroyed.
Pave paradise and put up a parking lot. Or just chop it down.
I must admit that civic action has never been my strong suit. I am much more likely to voice my concerns and convictions to a group of close friends or family than express it in a letter to my representatives. But now I feel like I need to speak up and support the many voices fighting to save Blanchard Mountain and the Oyster Dome.
Luckily, the amazing community behind Save Blanchard Mountain has made it very simple to help get behind the cause. Even for people like me!
How you can help to save Blanchard Mountain
The only way to save Blanchard Mountain is to use our voice as a community and put pressure on the legislature to protect this land. Here are a few easy ways you can get involved:
- Sign the petition and share it with your friends and family
- Spread the word in your town – download and share this flier
- Send a letter of concern to your elected legislators
- Like the Save Blanchard Mountain facebook page to receive updates
For more information about the efforts to save Blanchard Mountain visit the dedicated website.
If we don’t find a way to save Blanchard Mountain this could all be gone. Blanchard Mountain and the Oyster Dome trail offer some of the most unique landscapes and spectacular scenery in the state.
We need to protect this area so that future generations can experience it for themselves.
Read more Hike Files from the blog: Hiking and Camping in North Cascades National Park, Hiking the Thornton Lakes Trail to Trappers Peak, Into the mist on Sauk Mountain, Hiking the Oyster Dome.
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