Green Timbers Urban Forest Park
An Urban Oasis
Surrey is surprisingly spacious. As the second-largest city in the province by population and the third-largest by area, there is A LOT of space to play in.
The cool thing about Surrey is that its vast area is occupied by such a diverse mix of urban and rural. Rolling farmland? Surrey. Lush forests and parks? Surrey. A booming town centre? Surrey. Stunning beaches and heritage sights? Also Surrey. Does that mean you can truly have it all? We think so. After all, where else can you find the amenities of a big city next door to all this glorious nature?
We do have one problem, though… With over 6,000 acres of parks and green spaces, it’s practically impossible to choose a favourite. Of course, if we’re going to celebrate the marriage between urban and rural, green and grey, city and scenic, then we can’t not mention Green Timbers Urban Forest Park.
Known as the birthplace of reforestation in British Columbia the iconic Green Timbers Park is one of Surrey’s largest and well-loved parks with a fascinating history.
The park that today sits in the heart of Surrey’s urban development, was once a towering forest that covered 5,000 magnificent, unspoiled acres. It was the only surviving expanse of virgin forest from San Diego to Vancouver, and it drew considerable admiration. During the late 1800s, travellers flocked from afar to marvel at the famous park’s stunning 200-foot timber-lined highway.
Green Timbers Park was revered by many, with multiple attempts made over the years to have the area designated for park purposes. But with each passing year also loomed threats of development – threats that were successfully rebuffed… until 1929. Despite a campaign to save the forest, all 5,000 acres of it were clear-cut. In 1930, the last enormous trees fell with a gut-wrenching thud. Dignitaries witnessed this heartbreaking historical event, solidifying the futile fate of what was once Green Timbers Forest.
There is a happy ending, though! As quickly as it was clear-cut, The BC Forest Service commenced reforestation in March 1930 and continued throughout the decade.
Today, Green Timbers Urban Forest encompasses over 452 acres of wetlands, glassy lakes, meadows and nature trails wrapped up like sparkling gems within a second-growth forest.
In the heart of the park, you’ll find Green Timbers Lake, teeming with rainbow trout. Fishing in the city? That’s right. The Surrey Nature Centre can also be found in Green Timbers, offering various types of programming and education opportunities, and they’ll even loan you fishing tackle!
If you do visit Green Timbers, if you fish in its lake, or explore its trails, maybe you’ll pause a little longer to appreciate the urban forest that rose like a phoenix after being granted a second chance.