Karenne Hartley is pleased that a brand new steel bridge will soon cross a ravine in Walnut Grove, part of upgrades to the local trail network over the past two years. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Karenne Hartley is pleased that a brand new steel bridge will soon cross a ravine in Walnut Grove, part of upgrades to the local trail network over the past two years. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Trail upgrades enhance accessibility in Walnut Grove

Neighbours are pleased with a new bridge and paved trails

Two years after an illicit bike park in a Walnut Grove ravine was shut down, local residents are pleased with the upgrades to trails made in the wake of the discovery.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” said Karenne Hartley.

Her property backs onto part of the extensive trail network that runs through ravines for Yorkson Creek and its tributaries in Walnut Grove.

Although there are plenty of official trails running through the area, it was unofficial trails that sparked a series of changes over the last two years, Karenne and her husband Alan said.

In the summer of 2020, Langley Township staff learned that an unofficial BMX bike park in a ravine near 204th Street and Telegraph Trail north of 88th Avenue, had been under sporadic construction by local youths for several years.

The park included smooth dirt paths, small ramps and jumps, a fire pit, and there was trash and broken tools scattered nearby, including an abandoned, broken wheelbarrow.

“During the site visit, youth and younger members of the public were observed utilizing hand-held equipment, such as shovels, axes, and wheelbarrows, to complete the referenced construction work,” a report to the Township council said at the time.

The Township and a private property owner subsequently fenced off some of the access points to the site.

That closed off one access point regularly used by local walkers to get through the trails and up to 88th Avenue, noted the Hartleys.

Then an aging wooden bridge across the ravine near Telegraph Trail and 208th Street was also shut down by the Township, due to safety concerns.

The network of trails in the ravines is very important to locals, the Hartleys said.

“That trail network really supports the walkability of the community,” Alan said.

With the bridge closed and other informal access points closed off, the Hartleys weren’t sure what was going to happen. They started talking to their neighbours and contacting the Township.

“I think a lot of people wrote letters to say we would like the trail opened,” said Karenne.

Apparently, they got some attention.

Since then, Ramin Seifi, the Township’s head of community development and engineering, has visited the trails, signs went up letting people know about why the old bridge was closed, and then work began on the trails.

Several trails have been paved, and the Township re-opened access through to 88th Avenue again and with a newly built trail.

The old bridge was torn down in late 2021 and but this spring footings have been built for a new steel bridge to again span the ravine.

“We’re hoping to open the trails and the bridge in mid-July,” said Ritti Suvilai, the landscape design coordinator for the Township.

The bridge is coming from Ontario, in three parts, and will be assembled and then hoisted in to place here.

The Hartleys are excited because the improvements are making the trail network more accessible for seniors and others with mobility issues.

“They’ve done a great job,” said Karenne.

Suvilai said the bridge will be a big part of the connectivity in the trail system, allowing people to get all the way from the north end of the Yorkson Creek trail system down to 88th Avenue.

He noted that the work on the trails won’t ever be finished – there will always be repairs and upgrades and improvements made over the coming years.


Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Langley TownshipTrails