On September 19th, The Bellingham Traverse will be taking place and…lucky for us…the race finishes right here in front of our brewery which means a BIG after race party and lots of our special race brew: Traverse Red Ale!
The Bellingham Traverse is an endurance multi-sport challenge that celebrates the life journey of salmon. Soloists, tandem and relay teams compete for survival on the course that demonstrates the urban and natural challenges that salmon face in their journey. The course follows the urban greenways and roads through Bellingham, showcasing the city’s parks including Boulevard Park, Lake Padden, Fairhaven, and Marine Park. The course then heads out into the open water of Bellingham Bay finishing at a hidden beach at the end of Cornwall Avenue that is where all teams gather to finish the last leg together as they “trek” the last 1/2 mile to the finish line at the Depot Market Square and Boundary Bay Brewery.
Each Traverse participant (SPAWNER) is encouraged to choose an environmental group or related non-profit that they will be raising funds for through pledges. This event is unique in that participants have the opportunity to choose the group that their pledges will benefit. 100% of what is raised goes directly to the group of choice.
The Bellingham Traverse is the creation of Todd Elsworth and he saw it as a strong reminder how much salmon matter to the people of the Northwest and the commitment that we as humans must have to protecting their habitat. The goal was to create an event that would help raise the visibility of the importance of salmon in the ecological landscape while taking part in recreational activities that people enjoy in the region. It had to be a big circle, so Elsworth literally connected the dots of the local parks utilizing the extensive network of greenways and roads to make for a scenic yet challenging course.
It was also important to Elsworth to have it be a community event. Many athletic events raise money for good causes that are health related, but not many raised money for the environmental community. Elsworth started with a list of groups that stood out as leaders including Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association, RE Sources, North Cascades Institute, Conservation Northwest (previously NWEA) and many others. The objective was to give these groups an opportunity to be seen by the public in a forum called the Eco-Expo that hosted booths of the groups near the finish line.
Each year we brew the Traverse Red Ale and welcome the racers to the finish line with open arms right here at our brewery! A generous amount of Vienna, Crystal, and Chocolate malts give this ale a big malty body with a deep ruby color. The addition of Centennial, Mt. Hood, and Liberty hops provide a smooth refreshing finish, creating a perfect summer session beer to cool off with after a long “Traverse.” We’re brewing the Traverse Ale tomorrow and it’s got us very excited for this unique race and community event!