Arroyo Park
 
While Fairhaven Park was undergoing development in the early 1910s, and Chuckanut Drive was being improved as an access road into Fairhaven, Park Commissioner Roland Gamwell advocated for the purchase of a forested area along the Drive for recreational purposes.  Chuckanut Drive was paved in 1919 from Fairhaven Park to the city limits just beyond Inspiration Point, property owned by Cyrus Gates of Woodstock Farm.  The following year, the pavement continued to Larrabee State Park.
 



 
 
Cyrus Gates donated 38 acres to the city in 1923 to establish a park near the junction of Old Samish Road and Chuckanut Drive.  Gates also contributed $500, with matching funds from the Park Board, to initiate park development.
 
The property was basically a gulch with Chuckanut Creek running through it and a trestle spanning Old Samish Road and the gulch to accommodate the Bellingham & Skagit Interurban, which was in operation during the first quarter of the 20th century.
 
Initially, the park was christened Gates Park, but this name was protested by Cyrus Gates, and the name was subsequently changed to Arroyo, the Spanish word for gully.
 
Park development was slow due to the demands of competing projects at Cornwall and Fairhaven.  Some brush clearing was completed, and it was not until 1958 that the Arroyo Bullhunters Archery Club developed a trail system.
 
 
 
The gulch attracted illegal dumping, and Arroyo Park became the repository for old appliances and rusted automobiles.  In 1979, the Federal Government’s Comprehensive Employment Training Act provided initial funds for a clean-up project.  Following this effort, the Francis Larrabee Garden Club contributed $150 toward park improvements.  Trails were widened, debris removed and bridges were constructed with material donated by the Frank Brooks Lumber Company.
 
Today, Arroyo Park is still largely undeveloped and is appreciated for its dog off-leash policy, its salmon-viewing opportunities along Chuckanut Creek, and its access to the Interurban Trail system which links Fairhaven Park, Arroyo and Larrabee State Park.


BACK to Parks