Sunday, January 26, 2014

Celebrating the Lake Whatcom Reconveyance

Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws on left and Whatcom County Parks Director Mike McFarlane cut the ribbon in celebration of the new 8,800 acre Lake Whatcom Park

A bit of a public celebration on Saturday added to a more quiet personal elation back in March 2013 (lake-whatcom-reconveyance-halleluja) when the County Council made the final vote on the park. Policy and activism is fun! The process to achieve this park took some time and the alignment of some critical people at critical times. A detailed history of most of the steps that ultimately led to the park designation can be found at (lake-whatcom-reconveyance), a few more steps including the important March 2013 vote having taken place since.

Mitch Friedman, hard at work 

A few folks should be mentioned. The reconveyance would never have happened without Mitch Friedman and Conservation Northwest. Mitch made the Lake Whatcom forest a priority for Conservation Northwest and as can be seen above worked hard throughout the process. Perhaps it helped that for a period of that time Lisa McShane worked at Conservation Northwest.

Lisa delivers the scissors

Lisa's work on the Lake Whatcom Park continued for long after she left Conservation Northwest and it was great fun to have a family project that turned out so well.

Mike McFarlane, second from left with Jack Louws 

I can say with absolute certainty that the Lake Whatcom Park would not have happened without Mike McFarlane. He believed in the project from the very start, knew how to get the project completed and provided clear honest assessments of what the park would be and how it would be managed. When I met with Mike in 2005 about the park idea, I came away absolutely certain it would happen. Perhaps we did not realize how long it would take. Anyway Whatcom County is lucky to have such a great park director.

I would note that when Jack Louws came in as County Executive, he expressed skepticism regarding the wisdom of the park, but once he got the facts he fully supported the park and it was great to have him at the event.

In March 2013 I noted that one of the many heroes of the reconveyance and park was Whatcom County Council member Sam Crawford (one-of-the-reconveyance-heroes-sam-crawford). Alas Sam was working on Saturday (Whatcom County Council is a part time elected job) and was not able to make the celebration. Also missing Saturday was former County Council member Kathy Kershner who voted for the park despite lots of political pressure from her political tribe and very little political upside.

Pete Kremen, former County Executive and now County Council member also was not there which is really too bad. The park would not have happened without him as the process would have never even started. He was Executive when this project began in 2005 and stayed fully supportive throughout the process. It would have been entirely appropriate for him to have the scissors for the ribbon cutting.  

1 comment:

Geoffrey Middaugh said...


This is legacy. Something to always be proud of. Congrats to you both.