Adopt a Trail & Park Steward Program

The Volunteer Program works with volunteers who want to work independently on park lands, which includes parks, trails, open spaces and greenways.  We are looking for motivated individuals or organizations who want to dedicate time and effort to establishing and/or caring for trails, restoration areas, gardens and ornamental plant beds.

Typical Adopt a Trail Duties

  • Litter pickup
  • Cleaning trail of rocks and branches
  • Removing invasive plant species
  • Reporting problem spots, especially after storms
  • Reporting encroachments and dumping activity
  • Trail repair

Typical Park Steward Duties

  • Removal of invasive plant species
  • Tending to garden beds
  • Planting of native plants
  • Spreading Mulch
  • Litter pickup

Some duties of Adopt a Trail and Park Stewards are the same; our volunteers choose what they will spend their time doing.  What kind of parkland our volunteers work on will determine what kind of volunteer they are and what duties will need to be performed there.

Many individuals choose to work on parkland near their home.  Neighborhood organizations, garden clubs, service clubs and businesses tend to work on centrally located parks and trails.  Many volunteers come to the program with a specific piece of land in mind.  If you are looking to get involved but do not already have a place in mind, please call the Volunteer Program at 360-778-105 to discuss ideas.


When a new organization decides to get involved with the Volunteer Program, the Volunteer Coordinator will train them to be able to safely and effectively accomplish duties.  Often times that involves the organization or group coming to a drop-in work partyor organizing a work party at the trail or park.  The Volunteer Program will help groups get started with their project.

Tools and Materials

Groups and individuals provide their own tools when possible.  The Volunteer Program can lend hand tools for projects.  The Program will also provide trash bags and pick up of garbage or weeds.  If the site involves planting, the Program will provide appropriate trees and shrubs.  Mulch and gravel can also be delivered to sites.

Thinking about becoming an Adopt a Trail Volunteer or Park Steward?

If you want to get involved and find out what being a steward is really like, try coming to a drop-in work party.  If you have a place in mind where you'd like to work, or have a task you would like to do but want to find out where or have any questions about our programs, please call us at 360-778-7105.

Applications for Adopt a Trail and Park Stewards

Take the first step towards personally helping to improve natural areas in Bellingham; fill out an application now.

Map of Adopt a Trail and Park Stewards

Volunteers are all over Bellingham!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Why do I need a contract?

A:  Our contracts allow citizens to volunteer on City property.  Contracts also ensure that both volunteers and the City of Bellingham understand their duties.

Q:  How will Bellingham Parks & Recreation support me with my adopted area?

A:  Bags for litter and weeds will be provided by the Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program.  Once your bags are filled, you can call the Parks Department to arrange a pick up.  Annually, the Parks Volunteer Coordinator will review your work completed and help provide feedback.

Q:  Can I adopt the trail or park by my house?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What do I do with the weeds/litter I collect at my site?

A:  Call or email the Parks Volunteer Coordinator to arrange a pick up.  Typically, we can pick up weeds or litter within 2 business days.

Q:  When do I need to report my hours?

A:  Anytime.  Hours can be emailed, phoned, mailed or dropped off at the Park Operations Office.  We request hours twice a year, at the end of June and December.  Reminders are sent out in July and January.

Q:  How can I learn more about environmental stewardship, including plant identification?

A:  Check out our educational resources on environmental stewardship here.

Q:  I am interested in becoming a park steward or trail adopter.  Where am I needed the most?

A:  Check out our map which lists where current volunteers are working, or give us a call at 360-778-7105.