Sunday, June 12, 2011

Railroad Trail to Scudder Pond

With the logging of our forests once a major industry in Whatcom County history, years ago Bellingham had a very active system of rail tracks running throughout the town. Trains ran east and west connecting the old saw mills and logging operations around Lake Whatcom to Bellingham Bay; and north and south connecting Bellingham to Seattle, Vancouver, BC and points beyond. My grandfather often worked with the railroads not only here in Whatcom County, but also in Skagit County and British Columbia, Canada. That was years ago though as my grandfather was born in 1876, and over the years as the tracks became obsolete, cities and counties purchased many of the abandoned grades and since integrated them into their local trail systems. Not many signs of the old tracks remain today except for a few old trestles. Here's one such trestle that I passed along the trail today crossing Whatcom Creek very near the boundary of Whatcom Falls Park.
This trail marker found along the Railroad Trail shows some of the many options for connecting with other trails along a hike. It was a lovely afternoon, so first we hiked to the furthest distance - to Bloedel Donovan Park at Lake Whatcom.
 From Lake Whatcom, continuing our hike, we rejoined the Railroad Trail.
Our next stop was Scudder Pond. The North Cascades Audubon Society was deeded the Scudder Pond property by Vita Armitage in honor of her father, O.C.Scudder and it remains a protected wildlife preserve. Believed to have formed due to a plugged culvert under an abandoned railroad line causing the pond to separate from Lake Whatcom Lagoon, Scudder Pond and the surrounding area have been designated as wetlands by the City of Bellingham. Home to a diversity of migratory and breeding birds, while there, we were entertained by a pair of red winged blackbirds as they flitted and sang their way around the reeds and bushes in the afternoon sunshine.
Next we branched off the Railroad Trail onto the Whatcom Creek Trail and followed that trail into Whatcom Falls Park. So much of that Whatcom Creek area was destroyed during an explosion along the Olympic Pipeline, and efforts to restore the Whatcom Creek area after such a huge disaster has finally paid off. Today, the creek banks look as they did before the fire and fishing is once again allowed in the creek. This being fishing season, kids and families fishing filled the banks of most of the best looking fishing holes.

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