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Home River -- the Nooksack

In my last post I talked about how Covid has restricted my retirement plans to travel extensively through British Columbia and Alaska. But I have managed to make frequent trips closer to home. To Washington's Olympic Mountains and San Juan Islands, Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, and even closer exploring my home river the Nooksack. The ability to live out of my truck, and getting out at early sunrise or sunset, when most normal people are asleep or just getting moving, makes camera work a good past time during a pandemic.

The Nooksack River flows from the North Cascade Mountains (Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan -above-and the Twin Sisters) and through the forests and rivers of Whatcom and Skagit Counties. It is the home for both the Lummi Nation and the Nooksack Indian Tribe. Besides being a haven for winter sports and whitewater paddling, it is also home to all five species of Pacific Salmon (Chinook, Chum, Coho, Pink, Sockeye) as well as steelhead and bull trout and cutthroat trout. And where there are salmon, there are eagles.

A proposal for the Nooksack has been developed to designate just over 100 miles of the Upper Nooksack River system, including portions of the three forks and eight tributary steams as Wild and Scenic. To learn more about the progress of this proposal, go to

In my past role as Executive Director of the Whatcom Land Trust, I got to know the Nooksack intimately. Since 1984, the Trust has protected ,through land purchase or conservation easements, iconic and important river lands including Racehorse Creek and Wildcat on the North Fork, and Skookum, Edfro and Todd Creeks on the South Fork. Below is a photo of one of my favorites, the 110 acre Maple Creek Reach and the confluence of Maple Creek and the North Fork Nooksack.

I hope you will continue to follow my travels. Next up a short early winter visit to Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and the Columbia Gorge. And a longer fall trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

"To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together."

Barry Lopez

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