An old surveyor mark on a tree on the trail just behind the RCMP compound.

Next meeting with special presentation

Our next meeting is Tuesday Sept 4 at the Surrey Nature Centre. 
We’ll start at 6:30 and power through any business before our guests from VALTAC give a presentation from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Please share this event with your own networks!

Should we reconsider the Interurban?

From 1910 to 1954 a commuter train ran from Chilliwack to New Westminster through Surrey. The rail lines still exist, just waiting for a new plan!

The Valley Transportation Advisory Committee (VALTAC) thinks they have one. Join the Green Timbers Heritage Society to hear about reactivating the Interurban Corridor with a state-of-the-art Passenger Rail Service to run from the Pattullo Bridge to Chilliwack connecting 13 communities, 14 Post Secondary Institutions, the Abbotsford International Airport and much more.

A highlight for Surrey is it’s unique interconnection with Newton and doesn’t threaten the Green Timbers Urban Forest with extra widening.


Society news

Strategic Plan update
Don was invited to sit in on Kuldip Kang’s final presentation of the results of our strategic planning with his teachers at UVIC. It sounds like he passed with good marks! Our challenge now is to accept, internalize and implement this grand strategy.

Homesteading in Green Timbers
Bill notes someone has been creating a home in the forest. He notes hearing a dog bark within the park and I had heard the same a week ago at the same location.

When he checked further I saw a man surrounded by household items.

The location is about 20 m into the park off 100 Ave, across from the first block of houses, before you reach 141 Street intersection.

The City has been notified.

Report: Tour of trails in South Surrey
Field trip to South Surrey: Semiahmoo Trail, Sunnyside Acres, Bike Park (24th Ave)
August 18, 2018

Chris Temple and Don Schuetze did a circle tour on bicycles of trails and green paths in a small area of South Surrey, talking to path users and seeing if there were any lessons that could be applied to Green Timbers.

The route started on the Semiahmoo Trail behind the cemetery, crossed over the overpass on 148th, did the Chickadee trail through Sunnyside Acres, crossed 24th Avenue to the Bike Park, included some of the Hearts in Motion Trail that borders the Wildlife Nature Reserve, crossed over 148th Street again, through urban trails between housing development to the start of the Semiahmoo Trail to return.

Types of trails travelled:

  • Wide asphalt paths (Overpass on 148, Sidewalk on 148th Street, urban trails between housing developments)
  • Wide gravel paths suitable for wheelchairs (Sunnyside Acres, Hearts in Motion Trail)
  • Wide gravel paths (Chickadee Trail, Semiahmoo Trail)
  • Narrow gravel paths (Bike Park)
  • Narrow dirt paths (Bike Park)
  • Narrow dirt paths — observed, not travelled (Sunnyside Acres)


  • Lots of users on the trails. We encountered someone every few minutes.
  • Many types of users: runners, walkers, dog-walkers, cyclists, one wheelchair (self-powered), one smoker (in pyjamas)
  • Many users use these trail systems with different modes: road bikes, mountain bikes, walking, walking dogs, running
  • We specifically asked people how they felt about cyclists on the trail. No one expressed resentment
  • People felt almost everyone was respectful of other trail users
  • Walkers can be surprised by runners or cyclists. One person suggested a bell for bikes, others pointed out the convention to call out as approaching
  • Most trails twist and turn every 50 steps or so leading to more visual interest, and hiding other trail users
  • Some trails not quite wide enough.
  • Bike Park trails not well-signed for difficulty at the beginning of the trail. Not clear how the system works — seems to be some etiquette about what trails to go down and which ones to go up.
  • Dirt-only Bike Park trails not as chewed up as expected
  • Gravel Bike Park trails (easy trails) also used by walkers and dog-walkers
  • Gravel Bike Park trails still look natural
  • Riding beside the road unpleasant, even with a wide buffer
  • Trails are incomplete circles, ie the Chickadee Trail.

Lessons learned

  • Idea: better signage at beginning of trails for etiquette (ie respect of walkers, watch for dog leads, rules for bike park trails)
  • No attitude divide between types of trail users as expected (perhaps a reflection of the South Surrey community). Is it the same in North Surrey?
  • A recreational trip benefits from a circular pathway, ie not having to double-back
  • Paths beside roads are a different experience from trails inside the forest


City’s “Congestion Relief Strategy” mentions Fraser Highway widening

Interested in roads? Congestion? Roads through Green Timbers? The City of Surrey has approved a “Congestion Relief Strategy” ( Report here: 

Quote mentioning widening Fraser Highway through Green Timbers: “Making Targeted Corridor Improvements Residents often request the completion of widening on key north-south and east-west corridors to increase capacity and reduce or maintain travel times. Through a combination of delivering existing projects in the 10-YSP, and the new and advanced projects outlined above, the following key commuter routes have been targeted for completion in the Congestion Relief Strategy, 2019-2023: • Fraser Highway widening completion and transit lanes from Whalley Boulevard to 148 Street (10-YSP);”

Other events of interest

Eagle nest petition
You’ve probably seen this in the news: someone started to cut down a large cottonwood on Croyden Drive in South Surrey with a large eagle nest in it, then left. The tree was too damaged and had to cut down.

A petition has been created for the public to sign to demonstrate to the provincial and city authorities the level of support behind David Hancock’s plan to replace the tree with a pole and platform on which the eagles can rebuild their nest, per David’s mitigation plan send to you previously. Replacing a fallen tree in this manner has been done successfully in the past in other locations. If you support this effort, follow the link below and please add your name.

Burns Bog conference
For your consideration:

From the Burns Bog Conservation Society:
From October 11-13, 2018 we are hosting a Conference called Peatlands for People Revisited at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC. We will have speakers from Metro Vancouver, Quebec, and Germany speaking on the theme of peatlands, wetlands, and species at risk. 
I am writing to invite all your members, employees, and volunteers to attend. Registration is open now and early bird tickets are only available for a limited time! We also have senior and student rates available.
Nathalie Scott-Hsiung


International Urban Forestry Congress
September 30 – October 3, 2018

The Congress is a unique partnership between Tree Canada’s Canadian Urban Forest Conference (CUFC), the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture’s (PNW-ISA) Annual Training Conference and the Urban Tree Diversity Conference (UTD).

It is our goal to provide a forum for practicing arborists and urban foresters, green space planners and designers, policy makers, researchers and educators to share their unique insights into arboriculture and urban forestry. The power of diversity in urban forestry will be explored; diversity of trees and forests, diversity of people and communities, and diversities of management practices. By learning from one another’s’ knowledge and experiences, we will all be better able to shape the world’s urban forests. The event will highlight excellent international presenters, as well as talented experts from the Pacific Northwest coast region of North America.


Municipal election
The Downtown Surrey BIA is hosting all-candidates meetings:
Surrey invites everyone from the area to come out and listen to what the City Council candidates have to say.

The All Candidates meetings will be held at the following times:
Mayoral: Civic Hotel on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 p.m.
Council: Whalley Legion on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
School Board: Chuck Bailey on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 p.m.


2018 Transportation Talks program.

Speaking about transportation and planning, do you care about transportation in your city? From commuters and cycling enthusiasts to transportation advocates, let’s chat. We would love to fill this year’s class with engaged Surrey residents who will bring their passion to weekly conversations on how transportation is shaping and impacts our city.  

Presented in partnership by the SFU City Program and the City of Surrey, Transportation Talks is an annual ‘citizen academy’ program. It tackles hot topic urban issues through a comprehensive introduction to the transportation system in the Lower Mainland, with a particular focus on Surrey.

The 9-week program, starting September 6, will explore how transportation shapes our city. Sessions will take place on Thursdays from 6-9pm, except for the city bus tour, which takes place on a Saturday, as noted on the schedule.

You’ll hear from weekly guest speakers — policy- and decision-makers, planners, and engineers from city and regional governments, academia, private industry and the regional transit agency —  and discuss the influence of community, mobility, accessibility and more have on how transportation is planned.

Visit Transportation Talks at to learn more.

Calendar of upcoming events 
Green Timbers calendar:
Do you have an event of interest for readers?

Tue, September 4, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
GTHS Directors’ Meeting
Surrey Nature Centre, 14225 Green Timbers Way, Surrey, BC V3T 0J2
Monthly meeting of the Green Timbers Heritage Society directors. This meeting will be open to all as we welcome the Valley Transportation Advisory Committee (VALTAC) to discuss reactivating the Interurban Corridor

Sat, September 22, 10am – 1pm
Semiahmoo Trail: invasive plant removal and replanting
Semiahmoo Heritage Trail, Surrey, BC V4P 1H4
Hosted by the Friends of the Semiahmoo Heritage Trail

Saturday, September 8, 10:00am – 2:00pm
Nicomekl River cleanup
Nicomekl River Bridge at 203 Avenue
John Aldag, Member of Parliament for Cloverdale-Langley City would like to invite your group to join him on a cleanup along the banks of the Nicomekl River from 10 am – 12 noon on Saturday September 8.  We will meet in Langley at the 203rd Street Bridge at the parking lot near Portage Park and access the river via the trail under the 203rd St. bridge.

Saturday, September 8, 10:00am – 12:00pm
MP Sarai’s Community Cleanup Challenge
11931 Old Yale Rd
I’d like to invite you to join me in the Community Cleanup Challenge! I’m teaming up with volunteers from across Surrey Centre to help clean up Brownsville Bar Park. It’s a great opportunity to clean up garbage, plastic and pollution, and show our commitment to a cleaner environment for our kids and grandkids.