A recent land purchase in Maple Ridge protects more scenic and ecologically sensitive lands by adding them to Metro Vancouver's popular Kanaka Creek Regional Park. "We have recently seen a dramatic increase in the use of our regional parks, and this purchase of 3.4 hectares (8.55 acres) will not only protect nature along Kanaka Creek, but will also provide an opportunity to extend and connect trails in the east end of the park," said John McEwen, Chair of Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Committee. Over the last decade, 12 parcels totaling 42 hectares (104 acres) have been added to the park, which stretches for 13 kilometers along Kanaka Creek from the Fraser River to the base of Blue Mountain. The total cost of those land purchases was $12.45 million. "It's been exciting to see Kanaka Creek Regional Park grow with each of these strategic acquisitions that add both to the park's resilience and to its recreational value for park users," added McEwen. Located on Dewdney Trunk Road near Garibaldi Street, just west of Whonnock Lake, this latest addition boosts the size of the park to 454 hectares (1122 acres) and widens an especially narrow area. The land includes a portion of a creek tributary and features open field and forested areas.“Maple Ridge is surrounded by an abundance of natural, outdoor beauty and the pandemic has reminded us that these areas are incredibly important to residents in our community and across the region,” said Mike Morden, Mayor of the City of Maple Ridge. “Our local green spaces are busier than ever and Kanaka Creek is no exception, as visitors continue to be spellbound by its scenic Fraser River frontage, sandstone canyons, wooded trails and waterfalls. I sincerely appreciate the investment to preserve this park for future generations.” The $2.25-million purchase was financed through the Metro Vancouver Regional Park Land Acquisition Fund, which aims to protect the region's natural areas in the face of escalating land prices and development pressures.Kanaka Creek Regional Park provides trails for walking, cycling and equestrian use. In 2020, about 673,000 people visited the park, a 43-per-cent increase from 2019. The Kanaka Creek Watershed Stewardship Centre, a unique learning facility opened in 2017, builds on programs at the Bell-Irving Fish Hatchery, which raises salmonids for Kanaka Creek and other systems.