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Woman and dog rescued from Nooksack River riverbank in flood-damaged park in Ferndale

Closed gate at north entrance to Hovander Homestead Park and WDFW boat launch (January 28, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Whatcom County Parks and Recreation have closed Hovander Homestead Park and adjacent Tennant Lake Interpretive Center since November 15th due to significant damage from the mid-November and subsequent flood events.

The park’s closed status created new challenges when first responders were dispatched to the park about 2:25pm today, Friday, January 28th, due to a report of a woman unable to climb the riverbank after following her dog into the river.

The woman had been in the cold river water and the deep silt deposited by floodwaters made climbing back up the riverbank impossible without assistance.

Whatcom County Fire District 7 personnel cut a chain on a locked gate to gain access to the park. Once they located and reached the woman and brought her up the riverbank, they realized they had to back their vehicles nearly the length of the park since the flooding had washed out locations where they would have normally expected to be able to turn around.

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The woman and her dog were uninjured but wet and muddy after the incident.

While WCFD7 personnel were attempting to leave by the north entrance to the park, they were slowed by vehicles arriving and a crowd of already parked vehicles near the locked gate on Baker Street.

A county employee immediately locked the gate once the WCFD7 vehicles had passed.

The Whatcom County Parks and Recreation web page says the park areas “received extensive damage from recent flood events and are closed. Reopening date is unknown at this time but is not anticipated for several months.”

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WCFD7 Fire Chief Larry Hoffman said that if people continue to ignore the “Closed” signs and enter the extensively damaged park areas he expects to get more calls to the area.

Closed signs at south entrances to Hovander Homestead Park and Tennant Lake Interpretive Center (January 28, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News
Closed signs at south entrances to Hovander Homestead Park and Tennant Lake Interpretive Center (January 28, 2022). Photo: Whatcom News

2 Comments

  1. Mary January 29, 2022

    I read that someone let her dog out of her car while she was in a restaurant on main st. I don’t think she was intentionally trespassing by trying to get her dog out of the river.

    • Whatcom News Post author | January 29, 2022

      I spoke with that person while she was also at Hovander Park looking for her dog while this situation was being worked out.

      Two different people, 2 different dogs.

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