Langley family, TWU lead Glen Valley forest preservation

The Blaauw Memorial Forest in Glen Valley is expanding with a $1 million donation that will buy and preserve more land.

Two more parcels of land are being purchased by Langley’s Trinity Western University, the school announced last week.

The original donation of $2.5 million by the Blaauw family last year allowed TWU to buy a 25 acre parcel known locally as Grey Pit.

The former gravel pit site, which included some wetlands and a forest, had been owned by the Township for many years.

It was to be sold to raise funds for other Township development projects, but neighbours and environmentalists had objected to the sale.

Along with another parcel of lands to the west, it is now to be preserved under a covenant with TWU.

“Working with the Blaauw family has truly been a blessing,” said Paul Weme, TWU’s vice president of development. “Their gift not only honours their husband and father, it also preserves Langley’s forests for generations to come.”

The late Thomas Blaauw built a poultry and cranberry farming business in Langley starting in the 1960s. He had long admired the forested plot of land in North Langley.

After he passed, his family decided to purchase and preserve the land in partnership with TWU. The university plans to use the land for environmental research, education, and recreational purposes.

The land is managed by TWU’s Environmental Studies department, which has established a stakeholders group that will meet twice yearly to discuss forest management. Last summer, fourth-year environmental science major Curtis Abney began inventory of the forest. Through his research, he discovered two at-risk species: the Red-Legged frog, and the Pacific Side Band snail. To date, more than 200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants have been discovered on the property.

“Knowing that the land is forever going to be preserved is wonderful,” said Janet. “The number of species the TWU environmental studies students have found is amazing. What we’re doing now is continuing my dad’s legacy.”

Information on the exact size and location of the new lands being purchased was not available from TWU.

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