County approves horse traffic on Birch Bay Drive

Published on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 by Jake Lunden

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The Whatcom County Council lifted the ban on horses along Birch Bay Drive by a unanimous vote Tuesday, paying the way for local resident Roger Edmonds to start a business giving tours of Birch Bay from his horse-drawn surrey.

The amendment to Whatcom County Code 10.44 repeals a 1985 ban on an interim basis, and will allow horses and horse-drawn vehicles during off-peak hours for auto traffic.

Councilmember Barbara Brenner said that lifting the ban will allow tourists an alternative to seeing Birch Bay by car. She also noted that the tours will be good for businesses in Birch Bay.

“He’s going to give people information about the area and all the things they can go do and see,” Brenner said.

Starting in May, the Mistyfields Carriage Company will take passengers on a tour from the C-Shop to Bay Center Market and back again. Edmonds plans to run three tours per day on Tuesdays and Thursday between 7 to 9:30 p.m., and 2  to 4  p.m. on Sundays.  His six-year-old Clydesdale mare Alamar Abigail (Ally) will pull the nine-seat surrey.

“Passengers are not just getting a ride up and down Birch Bay, but getting a tour,” said Edmonds, who will draw from his experience as a dive trip operator in the Caribbean. Edmonds plans to give passengers information about points of interest, businesses and local history along the route.

Tuesday’s vote marked a culmination of months of effort by Edmonds and his family to bring their plans to fruition, including talks with the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce, Whatcom County Council, and the Whatcom County Sheriff's office.

Now that he has the council’s approval, Edmonds will pick up the surrey a seller has been holding for him since December, and hopes to start driving on local roads within a week.