By Doralee Booth and Kathy Berg
In 2014, the Birch Bay Steering Committee helped with the following projects:
Reconstruction and new signalization at Birch Bay Lynden Road and Peace Portal Way, making the intersection and train crossing at Birch Bay Square safer for the 11,000 vehicles traveling to and from Birch Bay each day.
Engineering and permitting continues for the Birch Bay Drive and Pedestrian Facility. Work on the project will begin in 2015 at the mouth of Terrell Creek, with a 2016 start on the shoreline restoration.
The Friends of Birch Bay State Park completed the BP Heron Center for Environmental Education with a ribbon cutting in July. The center will serve as a learning space and be available for rent for various gatherings.
Birch Bay Activity Center continues to provide daily recreational activities to some 500 residents of Birch Bay and Blaine each week, courtesy of the Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2.
Acquisition of a 4-acre beach park property with 400 feet of public shoreline access on Birch Bay, which will become a new Whatcom County park.
Over 350 people attended the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in November. Attendees enjoyed an evening of music, dancing and a silent auction, and then heard the plan for rebranding the events and adding a social membership program to encourage tourists to “Stay and Play” in Birch Bay.
Interesting tourist facts about Birch Bay:
Waterslide attendance for summer 2014 was more than 60,000.
Birch Bay State Park had more than 50,000 overnight campers, and more than 600,000 daytime attendees this season.
A few more projects are in the works for next year:
A public process for planning and developing beach park facilities on the recently acquired Vogt property.
Continued work on trails connecting Blaine, Birch Bay and the neighborhoods of both.
Addressing the need for elementary classrooms or school, a Boys & Girls Club and a library in Birch Bay.
A 2015 forum for Whatcom County and the four Blaine school board candidates in the November election.