Following a two and a half year process, the Upper Nooksack River Recreation Plan, has been
finalized. This new, comprehensive plan will help guide the management of recreation and natural
resources along the upper Nooksack River system in Washington state. The plan recognizes and
supports the economic and health benefits of recreation, along with protection and restoration of
the natural and cultural values of the upper river basin.
The recreation plan was developed through a collaborative planning process led by an advisory
committee comprised of representatives from American Rivers, American Whitewater, Hydropower
Reform Coalition, Mount Baker Club, National Park Service, Nooksack Tribe, Nooksack Salmon
Enhancement Association, Pacific Northwest Trail Association, the United States Forest Service
– Mt. Baker Ranger District, Whatcom Chapter of Back Country Horseman of Washington,
Whatcom County Parks and Recreation Department, Whatcom Events (Ski to Sea Race), the Whatcom
Land Trust, and Wild and Scenic River Tours. Planning assistance was provided by the National
Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.
The Nooksack River is the lifeblood for local communities that rely on the river for clean water
for drinking and agriculture, and for tourism income from visitors drawn to the river’s
world class whitewater boating, hiking, skiing, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking and
other recreation opportunities. Outdoor recreation opportunities are important to quality of life
as well as economic growth in Washington’s Whatcom and Skagit counties and across the
state. For example, outdoor recreation trips and equipment contribute $21.6 billion annually to
Washington’s economy, $8 billion of which is spent on activities around water, including
fishing, boating, swimming and diving.