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The Nooksack River

The North Fork Nooksack River near the confluence with Glacier Creek.
The Nooksack River in the fall.  Photo: Jerry McFarland, Flickr Creative Commons

The Nooksack River flows, as the map below illustrates, westward from the slopes of the North Cascades Mountains, merging with the salty Salish Sea at its delta near the cities of Bellingham and Ferndale in Whatcom County, Washington.  

Located in the northernmost county of the Puget Sound region, the Nooksack watershed is characterized by steep, forested slopes and fast moving waters in the upper reaches of its three forks: the North, Middle, and South Forks.  


After the three rivers merge into the Nooksack River mainstem near the small town of Deming, the river widens and meanders through residential communities and farmland before reaching it's estuary and flowing into Puget Sound. 

 The Nooksack drains a watershed of approximately 780 square miles, flowing for about 75 miles from high mountain valleys to the salty waters of Puget Sound. The watershed includes the cities of Bellingham and Ferndale, as well as several smaller rural communities.  

The map below shows the location of the Nooksack and its three forks.  The Wild and Scenic proposal area, highilighted in green on the map, is located in the upper reaches of the fork as well as key tributaries of each river.  To view the map legend, click on the white button on the top left, or select "View larger map" on the bottom left  to expand the window.

For more on the river and the Wild and Scenic proposal, see our GIS Story Map. 

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