New interregional park formed on Sumas Mountain

The Sumas Mountain Interregional Park will include existing park lands managed by the FVRD and also incorporate green space on the mountain

The province’s first interregional park will be located on Sumas Mountain.

The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) and Metro Vancouver announced on Tuesday an agreement to jointly protect and enhance lands in the Sumas Mountain area for conservation and recreation.

The Sumas Mountain Interregional Park will include existing park lands currently managed by the FVRD and also incorporate green space on the mountain’s south and west flanks owned by Metro Vancouver and the City of Abbotsford.

Together, those lands span a total of 1,471 hectares in the heart of the Fraser Valley – an area equivalent in size to almost four Stanley Parks.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman said the new partnerships will expand opportunities for trails that can link regional park lands with city communities and support the city’s green infrastructure network.

“It is important to protect habitat now and create recreation opportunities for the growing populations of Abbotsford and the Fraser Valley,” he said

Banman is encouraging residents to spend “some time enjoying the park this summer” and discover its natural beauty, summit views and Chadsey Lake.

Sumas Mountain is a prominent landmark that towers over the flat floodplain of the Fraser River and is a destination for hikers, cyclists, equestrians and naturalists.

The mountain is also a biodiversity hot spot. More than 40 species at risk have been identified on the mountain, including the peregrine falcon, mountain beaver and red-legged frog.

It is also the cultural home of the Sto:lo and the Sumas First Nation.

The announcement does not create new green space – in 2002 the province established Sumas Mountain Regional Park, allocating 1,168 hectares of the east and west flanks of Sumas Mountain through a lease to the Fraser Valley Regional District – rather it marks the first combined multi-district park project.

Each regional district will be responsible for the management, construction, operation and maintenance of lands within its jurisdiction. The City of Abbotsford has agreed to lease its greenspace to Metro Vancouver to be added to the interregional park.

The FVRD will hold tenure on Sumas Mountain Park lands in Electoral Area G. These lands include 715 hectares of land on the western flank.

Metro Vancouver will hold tenure on Sumas Mountain parklands in the City of Abbotsford. These lands include 454 hectares of leased provincial land on the west and southeastern flanks, 207 hectares of Abbotsford-owned land on the western and southeast flanks, 67 hectares of Metro Vancouver-owned land and 28 hectares of land jointly owned by Abbotsford and Metro.