Gooseberry Pt Marina and Ferry Dock Planning

The Bellingham Herald posted this story about the Lummi Nation contacting the County about their moving forward with plans for a marina at Gooseberry Pt, which has implications for changes to the Lummi Island Ferry’s mainland dock. For those who wish to read or re-read the lease, this 2011 November Ferry Forum article has links to the Gooseberry Pt lease documents.  (Some more discussion of their plans is on p. 69 (p. 35 in the pdf) in the Lummi Nation 2014 Annual Report.)
Thursday, February 12, 2015
 Email from Mike McKenzie, Chair of Lummi Island Ferry Advisory Committee

County Executive Jack Louws passed this message through LIFAC re: the letter from Lummi leader Tim Ballew about County preparing to shift the ferry dock at Gooseberry Point:

1. Lummi Nation asked only for what the ferry service contract calls for — moving dolphins and entry to the dock. (Not leaving Gooseberry. See p. 3 of contract.)
2. The marina plan has been known for a long time. This is neither a surprise nor a threatening matter.
3. Parties estimate this to take from 4-6 years to complete.
4. County staff is initiating appropriate planning immediately, as requested.
4. Mr. Louws will visit Lummi Island to discuss thoroughly, probably in late March, early April.
5. Remain calm. “We need to respond appropriately, but not over-react. This is a marathon, and we’re in the first 100th of a mile. You know what happens if you sprint out to start a marathon. We’ll deal with this thoroughly, efficiently, and fairly, and both parties will meet obligations of the contract.”
Further, Rob Ney, the ferry operations manager in Public Works, committed to giving a full report on County’s plans for his department re: the Lummi letter at the monthly public LIFAC meeting,  Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 p.m. at the Congregational Church fellowship hall (basement).
Both gentlemen are out of the office — Mr. Louws for two weeks, and Mr. Ney for one week.

Give Your Input on Pedestrian Improvements at Gooseberry

On March 26, 2013, 5:30-7:30 PM,  Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation have jointly scheduled a public meeting and invited citizens to participate.   Here’s the flyer, which includes important details:  Pedestrian improvements Open House Flyer.  Below is the email invite. These improvements were committed to by the County as part of the 30 year Gooseberry Pt ferry lease.

The flyer includes a valuable invitation — & contact information — saying that you can give your ideas about possible improvements other ways than during this meeting. That’s very reasonable and realistic.  Not not everyone can attend meetings like this, and a lot of people find other ways than meetings much preferable for providing input on complex issues.

From: “Kirk Vinish” <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:47:00 AM
Subject:  Open House Flyer

We are having an open house to discuss pedestrian improvement around the Gooseberry Point area.  Please forward the attached flyer to whomever you think may be interested.  We are interested in as wide a distribution as possible – thanks!

Feel free to give me a call if you have any questions.


Kirk Vinish, AICP

Assistant Planning Director

Lummi Planning Department

2828 Kwina Road

Bellingham, WA  98226

Office: (360) 384-2307

Mobile: (360) 303-4139


BIA Approved Tidelands Lease (April 2012)

Ever wonder or worry if the BIA ever signed the tidelands lease re: docking etc at Gooseberry Pt?

Wonder no more.  Here’s the scanned tidelands lease document, complete with BIA & all other required signatures (see page 13), which the County received on April 20, 2o12.

Ken Mann posted the link to this Google doc on Facebook page four days later.  Very sincere thanks to Ken for posting the signed lease.  No one else in the County bothered to let us know, at least to my knowledge.  I hope everyone will take time to thank Ken for this great courtesy and service to us all.

Dry Dock 2012 Parking Alternative

Bill Lee did a bit of research & discovered this option that individuals can pursue, if they wish. 


People wishing to find mainland parking during dry dock can contact Sheri Williams at Eagles Nest RV Park, 2924 Haxton Way, (360) 758-2420, to arrange for parking on  the RV park grounds. This location is approximately one mile from the ferry dock and can be reached by WTA #50 bus and the “A” route of Lummi Transit (click for Lummi Transit schedule).

April Squol Quol: Negotiations, Dinner, Safety

Three articles in the April 2011 Squol Quol (Lummi newspaper) report views and opinions related to the ferry negotiations, the March 28 dinner hosted by the Lummi tribe for Lummi Islanders, and road safety issues.  The first story is on page 1, the second is a section of LIBC Chairman Cliff Cultee’s monthly report (p.3), and the third is by Darrell Hillaire (p. 29) on major threats to Lummi children safety (read all the way to the end for his complete ‘big picture’ perspective).

Paper copies of the Squol Quol are available at the Island Library.

2007-2010: 20% Drop in Ferry Traffic

Factual data, plus interpretation and implications, by Wynne Lee

We have all heard the many claims from the Lummi Nation that “speeding ferry traffic” is a very serious threat to road safety on Haxton Drive.  No other traffic sources are ever mentioned in their discussions or press releases concerning the need for road safety improvements — or who should pay for them.

Had ferry traffic increased along with ferry traffic-related accidents in recent years, that might have supported the Lummi Nation’s firm insistence (to local and federal representatives) that costly safety improvements should be linked to renewal costs for the Whatcom County Ferry dock lease at Gooseberry Point.

However, ferry traffic has decreased, not increased over the past several years.  This is clearly seen in the data from Whatcom County Public Works, ably summarized and analyzsed by Chandler Johnson of the Ferry Task Force.  Information from pages 9-13  show that ferry traffic decreased nearly 20% between 2007 and 2010. Truck traffic was the first to decrease substantially, especially between 2007 and 2008; in 2010, traffic in all categories decreased across the board by ~10%.  (There were insufficient data from 2011 to include in the report, and earlier data were incomplete.)

Thus, any perceived (or actual) recent increase in traffic on Haxton Road or problems with road safety can not factually be blamed on increased ferry traffic.

In light of this fact and the absence of  objective evidence that ferry traffic has been a source of accidents on Haxton Way (from the joint Lummi Nation-Whatcom County 2009 report), it is difficult to see why either the Lummi Nation or Whatcom County should, objectively, continue to tie any costs for safety improvements to the ferry dock lease at Gooseberry Point.

Clearly there are political reasons for ‘tying together’ dock lease and general road safety costs, especially if only ferry users but not the many other users of Haxton Road (Lummis, non-tribal residents, visitors, businesses) end up being asked to pay for ‘safety improvement costs’.

Given that ferry traffic has decreased by 20% over the past four years and is not a substantive source of accidents on Haxton Road, it is neither just or reasonable to burden only ferry users with future costs of road safety improvements on Haxton Road.

All users of Haxton Road (pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles) should be required to pay for safety improvements, not just ferry traffic.  This could be done by implementing a local transportation improvement district that minimally would include the entire reservation and Lummi Island.  Either that or the costs should, as they are elsewhere in the County, be shared costs since Haxton is a county road, open to all.

The full truths of traffic safety problems and all their sources need to be honestly evaluated and acknowledged by everyone, from the Lummi Nation to County citizens and non-resident property owners. To date, that complexity has not even been acknowledged, never mind discussed publicly.

Until the complex realities that underlie  Haxton road safety are acknowledged openly, we will continue to see partial but very costly ‘solutions’ to traffic problems on that road. And if only ferry users are forced to bear the costs, the funding of such partial ‘solutions’ will also be unjust.

(Note: I am not implying that there are no safety problems on Haxton Road, or that ferry traffic doesn’t contributes in any way to safety concerns. Most islanders are, in fact, keenly aware of those problems and try to be ‘good neighbors’ when driving on Haxton or other county roads through the reservation.  It’s just that the causes of safety problems, and fair payment for solutions, are not and should not be attributed solely to ferry traffic.)

Lummi Dinner/Discussion Invitation to Islanders

Yesterday the Lummi Nation invited all islanders to a community-to-community dinner/discussion on March 29, via Brown Betty Service.—-

—– email —-

Below is a community dinner invitation from the Lummi Nation to all Lummi Island residents. Also see the attached flyer.

Paul Davis, Editor; Paul Revere, Horse Rider; and Brown Betty, Horse

The Tome of Lummi Island Lummi Island Community Association (LICA)

P.O. Box 163, Lummi Island, WA 98262


The Lummi Nation welcomes the Lummi Island community to dinner and a discussion on Monday, March 28 from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm at the Wex li em Community Building.

Join your neighbors in a dinner and an open discussion to share and learn about the Lummi Island ferry issue. We will discuss:

  • Our safety concerns for all island residents related to the site of the Gooseberry Point ferry dock
  • The long history of the ferry in relation to the Lummi Nation
  • The current state of negotiations between the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County
  • What happens after day 60 (April 10)?

Where: Wex li em Community Building, 2100 Lummi View Drive (located to the left, on the road leading up to the Lummi Nation School)

When: Monday, March 28, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

More information: Reach us at 360-384-2388

Amazing Searchable All-Ferry Document Database is live!

Really great news! Nancy Ging’s new simple, easy to use and very searchable database for all ferry documents is now online. You can try it by going to

Please read the instructions on the main page, then try out a search.

Right now only a few documents are on the database (inputting everything will take time) but Nancy, Ferry Task Force members, the Ferry Forum editors and PLIC’s Mike McKenzie have already started storing documents there.  You’ll see that anyone can submit documents to the database (such submissions will be moderated for redundancy, etc., essential to maintain the integrity of the database.)

We can’t thank Nancy enough for using her most excellent web skills to put this together. The database will provide a comprehensive and universal place for storing documents related to the ferry.

No matter where our physical ferry goes in the future, at least we’ll have a reliable online source for finding and sharing documents we need to become — and remain — well informed about ferry issues.

I never say anything is ‘awesome’ and dislike exclamation points but … this database is awesome! Check it out!