Rules, Regulations & Policies

Picnic shelterDay Use Shelter & Facility Rental Policies

The following information applies to all Whatcom County Parks facility rentals, including picnic shelters, day lodges and historical homes. A complete list of reservable facilities can be found on our Facility Rental page along with detailed information about each site.

Rental Policies

General Rules

  • Must be 18 years or older to make a reservation
  • Customers are required to leave the facility in the same condition as when they arrived.
  • Garbage and recycling must be removed from the premises (must be taken from the park) unless the customer has paid the optional waste disposal fee during reservation. 
  • If waste removal fee has been paid, all garbage should be placed in the appropriate garbage receptacle.
  • The cost of any damages to facilities or extra cleaning may be charged to the reservation holder
  • Reservation holder is responsible for the group/party's actions and conduct during the reservation. Renters violating regulations or misusing facilities will be denied future use
  • No sales, admission fees, or solicitation of donations allowed at general reservations (See Special Event Permit Information)
  • Facility reservations are for private functions only. Reservation cannot be open to the public (See Special Event Permit Information)
  • No pets are allowed in indoor facilities. Dogs must remain on-leash at all times at outdoor shelters. See Park Rules for all regulations on pets 
  • Extension cords may not be run to the Orchard from the Group Picnic Shelter
  • No bounce houses or inflatables of any kind are allowed

Decorations may not be attached to walls or woodwork and should not make holes or cause damage to any surface.

  • Smoke machines, fog machines, hazers, and candles are not allowed
  • Rice, birdseed, and confetti of any kind is prohibited
  • All decorations must be removed 

Alcohol is permitted only if you are 21+ years old and pay the $60 alcohol fee on your reservation. This fee does not purchase a liquor license. To find out if you need a State of Washington Banquet Permit please check here. It is the responsibility of the reservation holder to research and follow all laws pertaining to alcohol use at your event.

Music, Bands, and Amplified Sound
Noise from sound systems, speakers, bands, microphones or any other amplified sound must be at a volume such that it cannot be heard outside the area you have reserved.

Bounce Houses & Inflatables
Bounce Houses and inflatables of any kind are not allowed.

Food Trucks
Food Trucks for private functions are only allowed in the following circumstances: 

  • Reservation is at the Hovander Group Picnic Shelter 
  • The Food Truck is for catering purposes only. Food Truck shall not sell to the public while in the park
  • Prior approval is obtained by Operations Manager
  • Food Truck UBI is provided along with proof of insurance that meets County approval at least 30 days prior to event
  • Food truck is self-contained and does not connect to park utilities

Click here for the required insurance limits and documentation. Please email [email protected] with additional questions.

Special Events
Special Event Permits are required for any of the following situations:

  • Organized activities or events open to the public
  • Requires services or facilities not normally available for reservation
  • May disrupt or interfere with the public's regular use of the park or facility
  • Any activities where an admission fee is charged, products or services are sold, donations or funds are solicited
  • Commercial activities, including individuals, groups, or businesses, who:
    • Charge a monetary admission or class fee
    • Sell tickets, food, or other items 
    • Solicit funds or donations
    • Offer other for-profit activities
    • Promote a commercial business.

For information on Special Event Permits and the application process please see our Special Events page.

Park Rules
Unless otherwise specified above, all park rules apply to facility reservations. A full listing of Park Rules can be found here.

Reservation, Cancellation & Refund Policies


  • A non-refundable reservation fee of $13 is charged for each reserved shelter or facility, for each set of consecutive days
  • Payment in full is required when reservation is made
  • Reservation is for the day. Specific facility hours can be found on our Facility Rentals page
  • Reservation requests made within 10 days of arrival require prior approval and may be denied
  • Reservation requests can be made  online. Once request is received, park staff will call the requester to complete the reservation. Site is not reserved until payment is made. 
  • Reservations can also be made by calling the Parks Administrative Office at 360-778-5850, Monday - Friday, 8am - 4:30pm
  • Reservations for the following year can be made the first business day in December, starting at 9:00am

Determining Whatcom County Residency for In-County Rates
The billing address of the reservation holder must be in Whatcom County in order to receive in-county rates. If the credit card address is outside Whatcom County, but the customer is a County resident, they can:

  • Provide a utility bill that displays both name and address
  • Provide property tax info that can be verified on the Assessors Property Information System

Cancellations and Refunds

  • To change or cancel a current reservation, call the Parks Administrative Office at 360-778-5850 or email [email protected]
  • The reservation fee is non-refundable
  • For a full refund (less reservation fee), reservation must be cancelled 30 days or more prior to scheduled arrival date
  • Reservations cancelled 29 days or less from scheduled date will forfeit all fees
  • If an error or mistake is made while booking, either online or over the phone, reservation may be cancelled and fully refunded within one business day of making the error
  • Only the person whose name is on the reservation may cancel the reservation
  • Whatcom County reserves the right to cancel any reservation with notice or in emergency situations. If we cancel your reservation for any reason, you will receive a full refund


  • If requested 30 days or more in advance, reservations can be transferred to another date within the same calendar year
  • Transferred reservations are charged a $13 transfer fee
  • Reservations may only be transferred once
  • Transferred reservations cannot be refunded at a later date
  • Requests to transfers a reservation 29 days or less in advance may be considered for emergency situations. All emergency transfers must be approved by management

Additional information about specific shelters and facilities can be found on our Facility Rental page