Feb 26, 2019 Return to Headlines

Expanded Nature Park To Highlight Burke Mountain History

by Michelle Frilund |

COQUITLAM, BC, Feb. 26, 2019 – An expanded nature park that highlights the history of Burke Mountain will open in the Smiling Creek neighbourhood this fall.

Monday night, Council approved the final design for the Harper Park expansion, which will bring one larger, more natural park space to Smiling Creek rather than the two smaller parks previously planned for the area.  Trail development is to begin in early spring and be completed by late fall.

Located along Harper Road, the 4.4-hectare (10.8-acre) park expansion will be funded and constructed by Wesbild, part of the $4 million in community benefits the company is providing in order to develop housing south of the park site.

Park Design Provides Larger Trail System and Accessibility Features
The project will retain much of the site’s existing forest while adding features that allow for the passive enjoyment of the space, including 620 metres of criss-crossing trails that will connect to those in the existing 6.6-hectare (16.2-acre) park. 

There will also be a wooden pedestrian bridge over Smiling Creek linking the existing and new areas, along with seating, rest areas and picnic tables. The park was designed with accessibility in mind, with limited use of stairs and a picnic table on a concrete pad for people with mobility challenges. 

Themed Trails and Interpretive Information To Connect Residents to History
Adding to the park users’ experience will be elements recognizing Burke Mountain’s logging history, glacial influences and forest features.

Burke Mountain was logged throughout the first half of the 20th Century, facilitated by increased railway access in the 1920s. One of the original railway beds, named the Flywheel Trail, is still visible along the north forest edge of the park expansion. The historical significance will be recognized by a railway-themed pathway, and an interpretive panel will highlight the area’s logging history.

Going back 15,000 years, a kilometre-thick sheet of ice covered what is Burke Mountain today. The retreat of the ice left behind huge boulders – two of which will be featured along the park’s trails. An interpretive panel about the glacial influences on the area is also planned. 

Well before European settlement in the region, the rich forests in the area produced towering old-growth trees, some of which were more than 1,000 years old. The stumps of some of these giants remain, still featuring cuts made for the loggers’ spring board platforms. An interpretive panel will describe the historic forest legacy and remaining forest features.

Access to the Harper Park expansion will be provided from trailheads at Highland Drive to the south, and along the Harper Road multi-use pathway to the north and northeast.

Additional information and project updates are available at www.coquitlam.ca/parkprojects.

 Media contact:
Andre Isakov
Park Planning & Design Manager
City of Coquitlam