Generous family donates parcel of Glen Valley forest to Trinity
Land will be preserved for public use, education, and research.
Long-time residents of Langley since 1958, Ann Blaauw and children John, Janet, and
Jennifer, have donated a 25-acre parcel of land to Trinity Western University in honour
of their late husband and father, Thomas Blaauw. The agreement between the Blaauw
family, Trinity Western University, and the Township of Langley will see forested land in
Glen Valley preserved for public use, education, and research.
“This land is a showcase of the natural beauty we have in the Fraser Valley,” said TWU
coordinator of environmental studies, David Clements, Ph.D. “This type of forest is
becoming increasingly rare for the area and, with its close proximity to the campus, it will
be a great resource for students, faculty, and researchers.
The property—just east of the TWU campus, known as the Gray Pit Lands, on 257A
Street—is made up of five, five-acre parcels. It is zoned RU-3, for low-density residential
and agricultural uses.
The Watchers of Langley Forests (WOLF) group has been instrumental in bringing
awareness to the issue of preservation of the heritage McLellan Park Forests in Glen
Valley. Clements, who writes a monthly column for the Langley Times called “The Green
Beat,” is also thankful for the land donation. “It will provide a great opportunity help
educate people about nature,” he said.
Since 2008, Trinity Western University has run its popular Salmon in the Valley
educational workshops on the Salmon River that runs through campus. Nearly
3,000 Fraser Valley elementary school students, including homeschoolers, and lowincome schools, with sponsorship from the Salmon River Enhancement Society, have
participated in these workshops. In addition, TWU established the Trinity Western
University Ecosystem Study Area (ESA) in 1998—an area surrounding campus that
includes sensitive habitat and is dedicated to the study, preservation, and proper
management of the environment. Further, TWU has owned and managed property
on Salt Spring Island since 2000, and has been recognized for the development of its
community garden adjacent to campus on Glover Road. This model for stewardship has
been a great success with faculty, students, and the community, who have been able to
participate in conservation, research, education, and recreational programs on the lands.
“This is a wonderful outcome that will benefit the entire community and the environment,”
said Township Mayor Jack Froese. “People in our community made it very clear that
they valued this land and felt it should be conserved. Thanks to this land sale, and
TWU’s history of environmental stewardship, it will remain in its beautiful natural state for
generations to come.”
Township Council approved the land purchase agreement, which is subject to a
restrictive covenant that that allows only buildings that enhance the use of the
conservation area on the property and grants the Township and the general public
access to the land for environmental research, education, and recreational purposes.
Over the summer, a fourth-year environmental science student began inventory of the
forest. Through his research, he discovered two species-at-risk—the Red-Legged frog,
and the Pacific Side-Band snail. These early findings are indications of just how precious
this land is, and point to the value of environmental protection in years to come. The
student plans to complete his senior thesis on these findings.
“This forest is a diverse little island in the Langley landscape. You can study it for years
and years, and never get to the bottom of it,” said Clements.
The community is invited to attend the Thomas Blaauw dedication and ribbon-cutting
ceremony on September 24, 2013, at 4 p.m., on 257A Street, Langley.