International Maritime Heritage Center

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The International Maritime Heritage Center is a part of the International Maritime Heritage Park and Museum, located in Bellingham, Washington. It has an interactive display on salmon spawning and hatching, an amphitheater, and an environmental learning center. Located at the mouth of Whatcom Creek in the downtown area, the center is an excellent spot for winter steelhead fishing.

The centerís purpose is to honor, celebrate, record, and preserve the rich maritime history of Bellingham. The fiscal year of 1982 witnessed the construction of the Bellingham Maritime Heritage Center. The project was supported by the Federal government. The aim of the Washington State project was to convert an abandoned sewage treatment plant into an environmental education center and city park.

The International Maritime Heritage Center mainly focuses on maritime and city histories, salmon propagation, and sport fishing. The center brings into focus their vision for an on-site salmon breeding operation. It provides easy access to natural and scenic beauty for the visiting public. The center has environmental education programs in cooperation with more than 7,500 school children.

Other educational programs include summer day camps conducted by the park district. In addition, an alternative high school for adjudicated students is located immediately adjacent to the Maritime Heritage Center. These students actively participate in several educational programs including designing and building of boats. They often launch their new watercraft from the center's shoreline.

A city park was also developed and has water access, trails, plenty of open space, and beautiful views of Bellingham Bay. The center is immensely popular, particularly in the fall and winter when hundreds of people watch salmon returning to the watershed. Under the Bellingham Bay Foundation, the center formulates a vision for the next century of Bellinghamís maritime heritage.

The Bellingham Bay Foundation and city authorities join hands to conduct environmental education classes. The Bellingham Technical College operates the fish rearing ponds in the center. Other facilities adjacent to the heritage center include the Whatcom Museum, Citizenís Dock, and the Old Town Central Business District.

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