Port to fund Birch Bay tourism study

Published on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 by Tara Nelson

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The Port of Bellingham announced last week it will be accepting bids from consulting firms to conduct a study of tourism in Birch Bay.

Port economic development director Dodd Snodgrass said although the study is still in the preliminary stages, it should help local officials determine the type of tourists who generally visit the area as well as what facilities and services are needed most so as to better market the area to visitors.

Birch Bay is a beachfront community with a resident population of about 8,000 and includes a large seasonal population of second homeowners and visitors who are attracted to the community for its amenities such as Birch Bay State Park. Snodgrass said because Birch Bay is unincorporated and because tourism is a big industry there, the area makes a good candidate for such a study.

“Essentially the port commission wanted to help with this kind of project because it’s something of a scale we can afford to be involved with at this time,” Snodgrass said. “These are small targeted projects that we are able to do when we’re not able to do large, infrastructure projects around the community.”

The study will be paid for with a fund for non-construction type of economic development projects for small cities, Snodgrass said.

Results from the study will be used to help Birch Bay residents profile the type of tourists who visit the area to decide on the viability of different tourism options and help the Bellingham/ Whatcom County tourism board market those options.

It should be completed by the end of the year.