Metro Vancouver has added just under five hectares of important and scenic natural areas to Kanaka Creek Regional Park in the City of Maple Ridge in its latest parkland acquisition.The purchase of 4.7 hectares incorporates second-growth forest and towering old-growth Douglas fir, as well as a section of the main stem of Kanaka Creek.“This property fills an obvious and important gap in the continuity of the park and we are fortunate to be able to add land so rich in forest and riparian values,” said Heather Deal, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Committee.This land purchase advances Metro Vancouver Regional Park’s mandate to protect the region’s important natural areas while providing opportunities for people to connect with, enjoy, and learn about the region’s natural environment.The vacant property, on the south side of Dewdney Trunk Road near Whonnock Lake, adds to the park’s upland forest and protects a portion of Kanaka Creek. The regional park, now 440 hectares of diverse landscape, features Fraser River frontage, spectacular sandstone canyons, waterfalls, the Bell-Irving Hatchery, and an extensive trail system.“It is very gratifying to see this treasured park growing in size and scale,” said Metro Vancouver Director and Maple Ridge Mayor Nicole Read. “The addition of intact forest land and vital creek side habitat is a win for the environment, residents, fish and animals that use the park.”The 4.7 hectare property was in private ownership for many years and was acquired by Metro Vancouver for $995,000 before taxes through the Heritage Parkland Acquisition Fund. Kanaka Creek was selected to be a Regional Park in 1966, and land acquisition began in 1972. Popular activities in the park include walking and horseback riding, visiting the Bell-Irving Hatchery and participating in educational and stewardship programs.In 2015, Kanaka Creek Regional Park welcomed nearly 360,000 visitors.