CLOVERDALE — A new park in west Cloverdale is set to officially open next month, and it has a rather interesting history.
The 18.3-acre Bose Forest Park, located at 6203 164th St., belonged to the Bose family since the early 1890s, before being dedicated to the City of Surrey in 2008 as the neighbourhood built out.
Now nestled in the developed community, the park is a diverse natural area, including a sensitive swamp ecosystem, complete with skunk cabbage.
Farmer Mike Bose, whose family runs the Bose Corn Maze near the new park, recalled some interesting details about the property over the years.
Girl Guides used to have their annual regional camp trip there every year, he said.
“Right up until I got married (in 1983), the girls were still coming for the annual camp here,” Bose said. “We could even see it from our place when they were setting up tents and that. It was huge.”
There was also an annual salmon barbecue held at the park by the Farmer’s Institute after potato field days, which judged potato farming.
“In the early days, they actually did judging in potato fields – how straight the rows were, how clean the rows were, the plants, what the potatoes underneath looked like. My father actually won with the crop field (nearby),” he said. “After that, they had their annual salmon barbecue and they gave the results of the judging. They had it set up in there where they had an open-pit salmon barbecue every summer.”
Remnants of an old treehouse remain near the parking lot’s entrance to the trails.
“That would’ve been my cousin Peter’s,” said Bose.”Peter or Justin. Probably both of them.”
At one point, there were even golf holes on the property, Bose revealed.
“My uncle actually, at one point, made about five golf greens,” he said, “across what would be 164th (Street) alignment. Because when my great-grandfather bought it back in the 1890s, so there was no chance they’d push a road through, there was a wide strip of grass… so we always kept that well mowed and he plopped in a few rough greens. They weren’t golf course standard, but we could go out in the back and play golf. ”
The family’s love, though, was truly for the natural values of the property.
“The family always protected that bush, there was never, ever a consideration of taking it down,” said Bose. “My great-grandfather never cleared it when he was farming. I think they liked the fact that they had that buffer between them and other neighbours. And they enjoyed the value of the bush. There was a lot of effort put in by my grandfather and my uncle Roger and his kids to park it out. They did an amazing job of keeping that like a park.”
The city has been working hard to get the park ready for its grand opening, set for Oct. 14, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature entertainment, tours of the site, a scavenger hunt and planting opportunities.
Surrey’s Urban Forestry Manager, Neal Aven, said the city has created hundreds of metres or trails and boardwalks through some of the “swampier” areas of the forest.
“It’s got some fantastic trees to look at. We’ve got a playground with many natural elements up near the north east corner of the park and a little parking lot for people to come and enjoy the site. In addition there’s some picnic tables within the forest and near the playground area.”