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Metro Vancouver has added 20 hectares (50 acres) of forested land to the north side of Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge. The land purchase protects a large block of scenic and ecologically sensitive land with a healthy and mature ecosystem that has been relatively undisturbed for nearly a century. "These large forested areas are increasingly important refuges for people and wildlife as the impacts of a changing climate grow more evident in our region," said John McEwen, Chair of Metro Vancouver's Regional Parks Committee. "This property is unique because it helps maintain the water quality of McFadden and Kanaka creeks, and it preserves the scenic backdrop for an existing popular trail."In the past decade, Metro Vancouver has added 13 parcels totaling 62 hectares (150 acres) to Kanaka Creek Regional Park. The park — which stretches for 13 kilometres along Kanaka Creek from the base of Blue Mountain to the Fraser River — features river frontage, sandstone canyons, wooded trails, and picturesque waterfalls. Located between 116th Avenue and Dewdney Trunk Road on the east side of 264th Street, the new acquisition is adjacent to the South Martin Trail, which is used by hikers and equestrians and links the park to other trails and park land in northeast Maple Ridge. The property extends the park 600 metres northward, helping to connect the important riparian corridors of Kanaka and McFadden creeks at one of the narrowest sections of Kanaka Creek Regional Park.   "It is so rare to find an intact piece of forest of this size close to a rapidly developing area. Add in the existing trail that connects park land to the north and south and it is a really significant acquisition for our community and the region," said Mike Morden, Mayor of the City of Maple Ridge. "This is the largest addition to Kanaka Creek Regional Park in many years and truly something to celebrate."The incorporation of such an extensive sensitive ecosystem into a regional park supports the goals of Metro Vancouver's Ecological Health Framework, the Regional Parks Plan, and goals of Metro 2040 and Climate 2050.The $2.68-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 2021, over 673,000 people visited the park, a 43-per-cent increase over the past two years. 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.In the past 50 years, Metro Vancouver's regional parks system has grown from 3,835 hectares to over 13,800 hectares of parkland, with 23 regional parks, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas, and two regional park reserves in communities from Bowen Island in the west to Langley and Maple Ridge in the east.