Waypoint Park, Washington

Photo by Gina Austin | Courtesy of the City of Bellingham

What was once the site of an industrial pulp mill that was infamous for emitting an unpleasant odor is now Waypoint Park, an award-winning beachfront park in downtown Bellingham, Washington.

The American Shore and Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA) awarded Waypoint Park to receive one of four Best Restored Beach awards in the country.

According to Leslie Bryson, Bellingham Parks and Recreation Director, “This award acknowledges the remarkable public investment and commitment by the City of Bellingham toward this early action that restores and reclaims our industrial waterfront.”

ASBPA’s award celebrates the broad benefits that come from beaches, including storm protection, habitat restoration, recreation, tourism and protection against sea level rise. The nomination described the beach as “the first public waterfront access point in an ongoing reclamation and redevelopment project on the site of a historic industrial pulp mill.” Additionally, the beach is adjacent to Whatcom Creek, an important wild salmon-bearing stream, and provides the only direct public waterfront access in downtown.

The beach restoration included removal of an old creosote bulkhead, fill excavation, capping and nourishment to create the pocket beach and backshore. The finished beach creates new opportunities for forage fish spawning along Whatcom Waterway, and is a new favorite spot for the public.

Learn more about visiting Bellingham at bellingham.org.

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