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The First Steps to a New Waterfront District

The Aerated Stabilization Basin (ASB) Trail has been the city of Bellingham’s first step on the waterfront cleanup project. The cleanup, which stretches from Zuanich Point to downtown, is an extensive process. The ASB Trail was created to give the public a front-row seat to the transformation.

Parking for the trail can be confusing. After turning on to Bellwether Way, immediately on the left is a parking lot for a marine supply store. Just beyond this is a large gravel lot—park here. On the path leading to the trail, you’ll notice an interpretive display detailing marine life. You’re on the right track—this is where the trail begins.

When you arrive at Hilton Avenue, cross the street and find where the trail resumes, proceeding slightly uphill. In the warmer months, head down the stairs and check out the small pocket beach. It’s not a place to swim, as several signs warn of contamination. However, it’s a relaxing place to listen to the waves, watch boats go by, and get some sun.

Back on the path, you’ll notice a long, large fence guarding the pond. This 37-acre reservoir, the trail’s namesake, was part of the Georgia-Pacific plant as a treatment facility for wastewater contaminated with mercury, which also seeped into the soil. It’s safe to walk around, just don’t take a dive. Keep pets on a leash, as the fence is there for a reason. A bonus—a variety of birds use the sheltered pond as a sanctuary. Bring binoculars.

This trail offers some amazing views across the water. Turn the corner and you’ll see downtown Bellingham contrasted against the Cascades.

Presently, the trail nearly completes a loop, but not quite—just far enough that you will have to double back all the way. As work continues on the waterfront, the trail will one day connect with the new developments near the remodeled Granary Building. The city hopes that this trail is a stepping stone in connecting the trendy downtown district with the historic industrial area.

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"This trail offers some amazing views across the water. Turn the corner and you’ll see downtown Bellingham contrasted against the Cascades."