Tuesday, 30 October 2012


This is the opening to the giant centuries old cottonwood in the McLellan Park East Forest. You may have read about it Kent Spencer's story  in the Province on Monday

The tree is hollow inside at the base allowing people to climb inside. This is what that looks like from the outside.

But not many people know what it looks like inside the tree. Someone sent me this  picture Sunday night.

  The Old Man of the Forest grows mushrooms. Well taking up gardening when you get older is rather common.
-Kirk Robertson

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Page 5: 
The drier forests of Lots 13, 16 and a portion of 12 are the CWHxm1/07 (Western Redcedar/Three-leaved Foamflower) ecological community which is Red-listed (threatened or
endangered) and S2 (provincially imperiled). If the threats to this community are not removed across its range, it will likely become extirpated or extinct within the CWHxm1.

Page 7: 

This collective of natural features is the last refuge for animals and plants that occupy and define the ecological communities once common in the area.

The veteran Black Cottonwood at the southeast corner of Lot 12 (Figure 1), with a dbh of approximately 1.75 m (estimated, not measured), is one of the largest in the Township of Langley.

The liverwort Riccardia multifida occurs on rotting logs and mud in some of the same areas as Hookeria lucens. It is typical of humid forests of the lowlands. Neither species has been
observed previously in Langley by the authors. These organisms and the communities that
comprise the remnant natural features are important biological legacies that will eventually be lost from Langley and the lower mainland unless relatively large natural areas are retained. 

On September 20 environmental consultant Phil Henderson and  naturalist Glenn Ryder visited the Mclellan Park East forest. The observations that they they made became the basis of a report that they presented to Township of Langley and Watchers of Langley Forests by email on Thursday October 18.
In the report Henderson and Ryder detail the varying ecology of the forest.

In the accompanying email Phil Henderson said;
Glenn Ryder, renowned naturalist, and I visited the properties that are subject to sale north of and adjacent to Gray Pit on September 20, 2012. During our visit we recorded information on plants, animals and ecology and we present that information in the attached report. Our intention, as outlined in the Introduction section of the report, is to provide some objective information that will hopefully inform decisions regarding the future of this land. Our primary targets for this report were WOLF and the Township of Langley, but the report can be freely distributed. We hope it proves useful.

The introduction reads 


The Township of Langley (TOL) solicited “requests for offers” for the purchase of three
contiguous forested properties adjacent to 252nd St. and 84th Ave. and five contiguous 5 acre
(ac.) properties east of 257A St. and north of Gray Pit in northeast Langley (TOL RFO 12-1). The
deadline for submissions was June 29, 2012. Local residents and concerned citizens who
opposed the sale based on the properties’ ecological and cultural values, banded together
under the acronym WOLF (Watchers of Langley Forests) to protest their sale. In response to
their protestations and those of others, the Township rescinded the sale of the three properties
adjacent to 252th St. but not the five properties adjacent to Gray Pit (Table 1, Figure 1). The five
remaining properties adjacent to Gray Pit are the subject of continued efforts by WOLF to stop
their sale.

Glenn Ryder provided significant historical wildlife data from 1955 (Ryder 1955) for WOLF that
covered the three western properties and extended eastward to 256th St. While those data
provide important information for the general area and are an excellent account of wildlife
present before extensive development in the area, they do not specifically address the five
parcels that remain for sale. Strix Environmental Consulting’s reports on Gray Pit (Strix 1999
and 2000) provide limited information because they focussed on the Gray Pit extraction area
and small sections of the south forest edge.

In an effort to provide recent information specific to the subject properties, Phil Henderson and
Glenn Ryder conducted a brief survey on September 20, 2012 of the lots referred to in TOL’s
ROF 12-1, namely Lots 12-16, DL 320 GP2 NWD Plan 1560. Henderson and Ryder’s intentions
were to “determine its existing conditions” as outlined under Examination of the Site in TOL’s
RFO 12-1 and provide objective, up to date information on plants, animals and ecology for all
interested parties, notably WOLF and the Township of Langley. This information is intended to
inform decisions regarding the future of the properties.

  It is important  to stress the Phil Henderson and Glenn Ryder undertook this project at their own initiative at on their own time. WOLF and the Township were not apprised of their activities until the week the report was released. Their combined expertise is truly impressive.Phil Henderson is a well respected environmental consultant who has conducted work for the Township. Glenn Ryder is naturalis who began field research over fifty years ago.

This study backs up WOLF's contention that this forest has important ecological characteristics and values. . Our  view has been strengthened that the forest  is an important example of biodiversity in the Township.
We remain committed to it's preservation. WOLfF hopes that the Mayor and Council factor the report into their decision making.

If you would like to read the whole report go here                                                                                                                           

Friday, 19 October 2012


Afternoon of Art & Action in Glen Valley, Langley
On Sunday Oct. 28 from 1-3 p.m., you are cordially invited to join a group of artists (visual artists, writers, photographers, etc.) who will be assembling to witness and raise awareness about a spectacular 25 acre forest in Glen Valley, just east of Fort Langley.

Five forested lots have been put up for sale by the Township of Langley – it has been listed as a “heavilytreed, blank canvas”. Not many people know about the beauty and ecological value of this biologically diverse and mature forest, and there is little time to make Langley residents aware of what will be lost if the property is sold.  The Township may be willing to sell it to a local society if the small group can raise $3 million in a very small window of time.

Saving this forest ecosystem will provide a lasting legacy, not only to our children, but our children’s and perhaps countless generations.  Artists can play an important role in building public appreciation and awareness.

Bring your art supplies, writing pads, cameras and take a tour through the area.  Hot tea and cookies will be provided.  Bring an umbrella if it’s raining under the glorious canopy.   

We will meet at the trail entrance on 257A Street, just north of the intersection with 84th Avenue.  Click here for a Google Maps link that will help you identify how to get to the site.  It is just east of Fort Langley, and not far from the Fort Winery.

For more about this even information contact poet Susan McCaslin at smccaslin@shaw.ca



Last Sunday a group of concerned citizens gathered in the Eastern Mclellan Forest on one of the wettest rainiest days in a long time to explain why the forest matters to them and should matter to all of us. This is the first of two videos.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


 Members of the public will have an opportunity this fall to attend organized tours of the Mclellan Park East Forest in Glen Valley just minutes away from Fort Langley. Every Saturday and Sunday at 2pm half hour tours will be offered by Watchers of Langley Forests(WOLF) They will start out from a trailhead  on 257a street. Come visit the forest that Professor David Jordan of Trinity Western describes as being of "regional ecological significance".
This is a 25 acre parcel that is for sale by the  Township. It is a mixed conifer/deciduous forest with different types of habitat. There is extensive vegetation on the forest floor, various tree types and over 100 species of birds and animals that have been observed by naturalists. Some of the trees may be as old as 240 years. One area may have been marsh/bog in the nineteenth century and very likely has never been logged. Another area  contains some stumps with evidence of pioneer logging. The thick vegetation makes this forest appear larger than its 25 acres.
Visit the photo album of the Forest.
WOLF are a group of Langley residents who have come together in support of conserving this forest. This tour is part of their public awareness campaign.
No appointment is necessary but an email to savemclellanpark@gmail.com letting WOLF  know you are coming would be appreciated. Address it to Kirk Robertson


Date: Every Saturday and Sunday this fall!
Place: Forest in the Glen Valley area of Langley Township
Time: Two pm both Saturday and Sunday
Bring: Good hiking boots, moderate exercise tolerance
Directions:If coming from Fort Langley follow River Road east, make a right at 256th Street, then make a left on to 84th Ave. 257th Street is on the left-hand side. If coming from Aldergrove go north on 264th Street, make a left on to 84th Ave, 257th street is on the the right-hand side



WOLF (Watchers of Langley Forests) is a public interest and advocacy group that coalesced around the proposed sale of Glen Valley forested properties commonly known as McLellan Park.  WOLF was initially challenged by Mayor and Council to raise the funds necessary to purchase the former Aldergrove School site when the westerly properties were taken off the market this summer.  As of October 1st, 2012, WOLF has been apprised of Township of Langley’s position regarding our earlier proposal to facilitate the purchase of the easterly forested lands adjacent Gray Pit.  WOLF is pleased to have the opportunity to work along with Council and staff in order to ensure that these rare and environmentally sensitive lands are protected for future generations to appreciate while continuing the protection these forests provide as diverse wildlife habitat and benefits to the local aquifer.  

As outlined in a variety of submissions to Council, these properties contain both mixed and coniferous forests estimated to be approximately 100 – 240 years or more which contain rich wildlife habitat and watercourses.  They were identified as extremely environmentally sensitive in the Westwater Research Report commissioned by the Township of Langley in 1993.  This report clearly recommends management guidelines to restrict residential development requiring septic disposal systems in order to protect groundwater quality and to support groundwater recharge.  This report further advised that the existing forest vegetation be maintained and protected.  The subsequent O’Connor engineering report commissioned by the Township in 2005 addressed issues such as the property’s environmental value, groundwater protection, protection of fishery habitat and the watershed, sensitive wildlife species, as well as other site specific environmental values.  And finally, Professor David Jordan expressed his views on the subject in his role as an Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University by stating:
…“In my professional opinion, the Land Sales properties are of regional ecological significance because of the complex forest structure, mixture of tree species and significant biodiversity all contained in a spatially compact area.”…

WOLF was encouraged by early and growing local and regional support to address this challenge by seeking economic partnerships in support of  protecting and conserving these rare forested properties in their existing natural state, with low impact trails for continued habitat protection and enhancing education and enjoyment opportunities as a  “nature park in perpetuity”.  We have every confidence that partnering arrangements can be achieved although the current deadline to conclude the sale is extremely short.
WOLF is continuing to engage the community regarding this initiative as well as meeting with an expanding base of interested parties including private individuals and groups, First Nations, government and other agencies in order to pursue all available avenues to finance the purchase of these properties.  WOLF has taken on this exciting challenge and looks forward to using the information gained as a “blueprint” and model for other successful co-ventures involving community advocacy groups in support of environmental conservation in Langley Township.  

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


The following item has been brought forward from the September 17, 2012
Special Closed Council Meeting:
1. Glen Valley Properties for Sale
1. Council desires to acquire land and construct a new Community Centre that
will contain a pool and ice arena in downtown Aldergrove;
2. In order to construct and operate a new Community Centre funds need to
be raised, and to facilitate that, Council has directed that certain surplus
lands be disposed of and marketed for sale;
3. Concerns were raised in the Community about the proposed disposition of
some of the surplus lands in Glen Valley parcels north of the Gray Pit
Lands, which, while not part of Gray Pit, are commonly referred to as the
Gray Pit Lands, including five lots having the following legal descriptions:
a) Lot 12 - PID: 012-266-329
District Lot 320 Group 2 New Westminster District Plan 1560
b) Lot 13 - PID: 008-386-706
District Lot 327 Group 2 New Westminster District Plan 1560
c) Lot 14 - PID: 012-266-345
District Lot 320 Group 2 New Westminster District Plan 1560
d) Lot 15 - PID: 012-266-361
District Lot 320 Group 2 New Westminster District Plan 1560
e) Lot 16 - PID: 012-266-370
District Lot 320 Group 2 New Westminster District Plan 1560
(together, such five (5) lots being the Gray Pit Lands)
4. The Township is fortunate to have significant passive park and green space
holdings that include hundreds of acres in Ponder Park, the West Creek
Lands, the Milaster property and thousands of acres of Regional parks, and
must find a balance between the requests for green space with other
community needs;
5. The Gray Pit Lands consist of five lots, and each lot has an appraised value
of approximately six hundred thousand dollars ($600,000.00) for a total
combined value of approximately three million dollars ($3,000,000.00);
6. After due consideration of public concern raised regarding the Gray Pit
Lands, the Gray Pit Lands were marketed for sale on the Multiple Listing
Service (MLS) for in excess of thirty days;
7. A public interest group known as Watchers of Langley Forest (W.O.L.F.)
submitted a letter of intent to Council dated September 5, 2012 to acquire
the Gray Pit Lands for fair market value on the following terms:
a) the Gray Pit Lands shall be owned/purchased by W.O.L.F.;
b) the Gray Pit Lands shall be protected and conserved for park,
trail, education, and recreational purposes in perpetuity;
c) W.O.L.F. to provide a ten thousand dollar ($10,000.00)
refundable deposit to enter into a preliminary agreement to
preserve the Gray Pit Lands.
8. Council had originally anticipated that community groups would also raise
funds to retain the McLellan Forest lands for public purposes and that
understanding appears to be uncertain;
9. In order to facilitate the construction of the new Community Centre
(including a pool and ice arena) in downtown Aldergrove, Council desires to
provide W.O.L.F. with an option to purchase all of the Gray Pit Lands (the
Option) for the fair market value of three million dollars ($3,000,000.00) (the
Purchase Price) and otherwise upon the following terms and conditions
(without limitation) to be included in a purchase option agreement (the
Purchase Option Agreement) to be entered into between W.O.L.F. and
the Township on or before November 17, 2012:
a) It shall be a condition precedent to the Option and obligations
under the Purchase Option Agreement that:
i. W.O.L.F. shall pay to the Township a ten thousand
dollar ($10,000.00) refundable deposit on or before
October 3, 2012; and
ii. W.O.L.F. shall provide evidence satisfactory to the
Township that W.O.L.F. is a society duly incorporated
in British Columbia pursuant to the Society Act,
RSBC 1996, ch. 433.
b) The Purchase Price shall be payable by W.O.L.F. on or before
November 17, 2012.
c) W.O.L.F. shall covenant to preserve the Gray Pit Lands and
trees located thereon for public park, trail, education and
recreational purposes in perpetuity and otherwise upon terms
and conditions satisfactory to the Township, including without
limitation, registration of restrictive covenants, reverter rights
and/or other relevant charges upon title to the Gray Pit Lands in
respect of such preservation, purposes and use of the Gray Pit
d) In the event of the dissolution or insolvency of W.O.L.F. and/or a
breach of W.O.L.F.’s obligation to preserve or ensure the
preservation of the Gray Pit Lands and trees as described above
in sub-paragraph (c), ownership of the Gray Pit Lands shall
revert to the Township of Langley.
e) The Option and the Purchase Option Agreement shall not be
assignable by W.O.L.F. without the prior written consent of the
Township, in their sole discretion as evidenced by a duly adopted
resolution of Council.
10. In the event that W.O.L.F. does not exercise the Option and/or pay the
Purchase Price on or before November 17, 2012 in accordance with the
terms of the Purchase Option Agreement for any reason, the Township may
proceed with the direction provided in previous council resolutions to
dispose of the Gray Pit Lands that were marketed for sale in accordance
with Council policy.
Therefore be it resolved that:
1. Council provide WOLF with the opportunity to acquire the five lots in the
Gray Pit lands that are for sale for a fair market value of $3,000,000.00 on
or before November 17, 2012 (60 days) by provision of a $10,000.00
refundable deposit (within fourteen (14) days) provided that:
a) WOLF will provide documentation that it is a legitimate, incorporated
Society prior to closing with the provision;
b) that in the event of its dissolution or insolvency its (WOLF) assets
will revert to the Township;
c) WOLF will covenant, and agree to enter into an agreement, to
preserve these lands and trees for public park, trail, education and
recreational purposes in perpetuity; and
d) the opportunity available to WOLF cannot be assigned to a third
party without consent of the Township of Langley Council as
evidenced by a duly adopted resolution; and
2. That if WOLF does not proceed in accordance with the terms of this
resolution, that staff proceed with the direction as provided in previous
Council resolutions to dispose of the Gray Pit lands that were marketed for
sale in accordance with Council policy.
Section 90(1) (e) Property; (k) Negotiations
October 1, 2012

The original document can be found in the eveing agenda of the Council for Monday October 1


Monday, 1 October 2012


I would just like to make a quick note thanking everyone who came out for the tour of the forest on Saturday. I would especially like to thank Theresa Martin and everyone else at Sierra Club who did the organizing work for the hike.

I hope to have an announcement soon about another tour. If you are interested or if you were on the tour you and would like to reach out to WOLF you can reach me at savemclellanpark@gmail.com. If anyone has pictures that they took I would be very interested in having them to post here on the blog or elsewhere on the web.

-Kirk Robertson