top of page
Freya_Fennwood-Photography 3.22.25 PM.jpg


Biketown, a film by Freehub magazine is a story of mountain bike communities and the struggles they face that ultimately inspire collaboration around shared visions and goals. The advocacy work WMBC does each year for our trails is highlighted in this film - check it out!


Our mission is to preserve and enhance bicycle trail access in Whatcom County through stewardship, education, and advocacy.


We have been working directly with land managers since the organizations conception in 1986 to open up more trails and access points for mountain bikers and other trail users.


Our history of advocacy is rich with successes and longstanding relationships that have resulted in the 118 miles of mountain biking trails you can find in Whatcom County.



-E-bikes (class 1) allowed on Galbraith Mountain

-Sanctioned The Horn and Rick Rolled on Blanchard

-Creation of Blue Ribbon trail on Galbraith Mountain

-Olsen Creek 17 miles of multi-use recreation trail expansion

-Waterfront Pump Track Tile tank jumps added

Please email any questions or concerns to


  • Advocate for pump tracks and skills zones in city parks and tribal land

  • Contribute to DNR Trail Policy guidelines

  • Expand trail access and mileage in Whatcom County

  • Work directly with local land managers to protect access and increase trail mileage


Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 10.19.11 AM.png


The Horn & Rick Rolled on

Blanchard sanctioned



Birchwood Pump Track

adaptive bikes.jpeg


S Side Entrance Widened

waterfront race course.jpg


Waterfront Pump Track Race Course

kiosk 9.jpg


Birch Street & Blue Rock Kiosks



Cordata Pump Track



Baker to Bellingham Plan



WMBC Trail Survey

# 18 _ TheWayInIsThrough,BradWalton.jpg


WMBC Trail Survey



Larrabee State Park Trail Proposal



WMBC Trail Survey


Olsen Creek 17 miles of multi-use recreation trail expansion

Screenshot 2024-05-20 at 10.24.50 AM.png


Cedar Dust Skills Area w/ Drop Zone

cedar dust skills area.JPG


RESPECT Neighborhood Outreach



Galbraith Mountain and Padden Trails Parking Lot Expansion

Galbraith and Padden Trails Parking Lot.jpeg


WMBC Trail Survey



Waterfront Pump Track

waterfront pump track.jpeg


Brown Pow

brown pow.png


Galbraith Rec. & Cons. Easement

# 42 _ LPN-RLW-2021.JPG


 Galbraith EMS Checkpoint System

EMS checkpooints.jpg


Lake Whatcom Reconveyance


Each trail system in Whatcom County has multiple land managers

that we collaborate with in order to achieve our mission


Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

City of Bellingham, Whatcom County

Washington State Parks

Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

United States Forest Service

We also work with other local groups such as Whatcom Trails Association, Backcountry Horseman of Washington, and Aspire Adventure Running.  We lobby on behalf of our mountain bike user group at county and city council meeting as well as meeting at our state capital, while engaging with a variety of user groups: mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians, dog walkers.

Many trails that we manage in Whatcom County are built by volunteers organized by WMBC, however many trails are built by professional trail builders such as Shire Built and require paid trail work.



Galbraith Mountain is a privately-owned commercial working forest surrounded on 3 sides by neighborhoods along Samish Way, Lakeway/Lake Louise Road and Yew Street. Since 1986, WMBC has been building and maintaining trails on Galbraith Mountain and have been the authorized trail stewards since 2001. That original Recreation Use Agreement transferred from the former owners (Trillium Corporation) to Polygon Financial in 2011. Between 2011 and 2018, we assisted the City and Whatcom Land Trust in negotiating permanent easements across the 2,240 acres purchased by Galbraith Tree Farm in 2017.


The four main landowners on Galbraith are Galbraith Tree Farm (2,240 acres), Polygon LLC (650 acres), City of Bellingham (400 acres) and the Department of Natural Resources (50 acres) along with some smaller private in-holdings.

Janicki Logging (along with their subcontractors) performs timber management operations throughout the year including aerial spraying, commercial and non- commercial thinning, road construction and clear cutting. Because Galbraith is a dynamic landscape, WMBC manages the evolving trail network unlike other areas in Whatcom County. Within the timber management, there are two types of logging on Galbraith that impact the public’s trail access each year: thinning and clear cutting.


Thinning is where the loggers harvest a percentage of trees in a particular area. After thinning, there is a variable amount of damage to the trails. In most sections, there is slash (cut branches, tops of trees, etc.) laying across the trail. Restoring these sections of trail can typically be cleaned up by hand with typically little tread repair that needs to take place. Piles of slash surround 100% of the trail tread post-harvest and keep sediment from traveling no more than a few feet.


There are also bigger trail crossings during thinning where the machines have created a "road" that the loggers use to travel across the trail to haul logs to their landings. For this part of their operation, they use a machine called a forwarder which has 5' tall wheels with chains on them. The crossings typically have 3-5' deep ruts from the machine where the slash is driven into the soil. The crossings tend to be narrow (30-50 feet wide) but are a massive amount of work to restore.

Depending on the topography and vehicle/road access points, the loggers will sometimes utilize the trail corridor itself and create 3-5’ deep ruts going down the trail itself and require significantly more work to restore. An example of this was the middle section of Atomic Dog during last year’s harvest. Because of the intensity of trail damage, we restore the crossings and ruts with our mini-excavator and then do hand work to button things up at the end. Sometimes, there is just a few crossings and sometimes there's large sections of trail destroyed.

As the name would suggest, this operation is when the loggers take all the trees within an area (minus the ones they keep for the Habitat Conservation Plan - HCP). By and large, this harvest operation impacts an entire trail or area of trails and most of the trail tread is heavily impacted by their machines with slash driven into the ground. When restoring trails in clear cuts, we use our mini excavator to move slash away from the trail corridor and then have hand crews (volunteers typically) do the final shaping and compaction of dirt. As with thinning operations, there are piles of slash surrounding 100% of the trail tread post-harvest that keeps sediment from traveling no more than a few feet. Areas on Galbraith that have had extensive clear cuts like the Bears, Bunny Trails, SST and Lost Giants are indicative of the level of work in these zones.

An important aspect of Galbraith being a working forest is the volume of trails affected during harvest operations. In the past 5 years, nearly every trail has been impacted in some way and last year (2019-2020) more than 1/4 of the mountain's acreage had timber harvest and the WMBC restored 22 miles of trail. During the 2019-20 season, trail access on the north side (Birch Street) was completely closed when The Ridge, Bob’s, Cedar Dust and FF Center were being thinned. The North Side access is the primary route from Bellingham and the closure affected more than 50% of the public’s access to the mountain. When these closures occur, we redirect ALL traffic to the south side of the mountain (Galbraith Lane) and to other neighborhood access trails which invariably causes friction with neighbors. As such, it is always WMBC’s goal to get trail access restored as quickly and as efficiently as possible post-harvest.


E-bikes designed for off-road use (aka E-MTB’s) are a relatively new phenomenon and both public and private land managers are implementing and adjusting their access policies for this activity.

The Washington state vehicle code, ratified by the legislature in February 2018 in SB 6434:

  1. Defines what an e-bike is in Washington State, and establishes a regulatory framework for their use.

  2. Classifies an e-bike as a special class of bicycle, as long as the power output is no more than 750 watts, it has a saddle, includes fully operative pedals, and meets the following other class restrictions:

    • Class 1: E-assist only while pedaling, with a maximum speed of 20 mph.

    • Class 2: Can be propelled solely by the motor, with a maximum speed of 20 mph.

    • Class 3: E-assist only while pedaling, with a maximum speed of 28 mph, and has a speedometer.

  3. Generally disallows e-bikes on designated non-motorized natural surface trails, including singletrack, unless specifically authorized by the land manager.

  4. Requires prominent labeling for all e-bikes containing the Classification Number, Top Assisted Speed, and Motor Wattage.


As of February 26th, 2024 the Bellingham City Council voted unanimously to make a change to the recreational easement on Galbraith Mountain and officially allow class 1 e-mtb’s on the mountain. Class 1 e-bikes are defined as pedal assist (no throttle) bikes with a maximum output power of 750W and a top assisted speed of 20 mph.


  • How will the current emerging E-MTB technology change over the next few years?

  • Will other trail user groups be more or less inclined to support human-powered mountain bike access on trails due to increased E-MTB access?

  • How will E-MTB power activation and speed limits be enforced?

  • Will E-MTB’s increased speeds lead to more user-group conflicts?

  • Will the WMBC advocate for E-MTB access?  If not, who will represent E-MTB users?


Adaptive Mountain Biking (aMTB), sometimes referred to as “off-road para-cycling”, encompasses a broad range of riders who typically cannot ride a standard mountain bike and require adapted equipment and trails to suit their physical, intellectual, neurological and sensory abilities. There are varying adaptive mountain bikes available around the world, each designed to meet a riders specific need. Readily established adaptive equipment includes: handcycles, recumbent leg-cycles, and tandem bikes. (Description from Break the Boundary).

Recreation is for everyone! The AIROW Project is local non-profit devoted to adaptive and inclusive recreation in Whatcom County. They provide events, programming, and resources for aMTBs - check them out and support them here.

Trailforks has a new aMTB category for trails on their maps to make it easier for adaptive bikers to find trails that are suitable for them. On Galbraith Mountain, we have widened the south side entrance to accommodate aMTBers and are working on identifying trails and loops that will work with adaptive bikes.

bottom of page