Little Mountain Preservation Project
Mt. Shannon, Chilliwack North
The Little Mountain Preservation Project is a grassroots initiative aimed at preserving one of the last remaining private forested areas in North Chilliwack.
Little Mountain also happens to be within a 10 minute bike ride for over 40,000 people living in Chilliwack Proper.
Our goal is to work with the City of Chilliwack to transform a combination of city and private land into an urban forest park that all can enjoy for generations.
To become part of the Little Mountain Preservation Project, donate today and write to your city council / MLA. To learn more about our plan, who it benefits and where your donation goes, keep reading below.
For donations requiring a tax receipt, please contact us directly.
Photos by Jenna Hauck, Courtesy of The Chilliwack Progress
How We Got Here
There is an old forest in Chilliwack that very few people know about. Within this wooded area are some of the best trails to explore nature, to breath, to ride, to hike, and to wander. Located on "Little Mountain" (Mt. Shannon), it is the LAST and ONLY urban forest on the north side of Chilliwack. And it is mostly privately owned.
Little Mountain Preservation Project is raising funds to buy this land in cooperation with the City of Chilliwack to preserve this forested green space for a future park. This project includes protecting what is left now: the trees, the trails, the land, the wildlife, and it’s connecting pathways. This project is bringing people of all generations together with nature, educating each other. Preserving this forest now and conserving it for the future is what propels the Little Mountain Preservation Project.
A group of residents in the the surrounding community have come together with their concerns for this land, which is scheduled for development. In December 2019, clearcutting started on a parcel covering 30% of the forested area. By February 2020, not one tree was left standing. The City of Chilliwack has minimal tree protection bylaws, in contrast to Vancouver and Surrey.
This part of Little Mountain’s Forest was home to its oldest trees, the biggest, and the tallest. Now they are gone. Seeing these magnificent trees disappear motivates us to protect what remains.
Aerial image of Little Mountain and surrounding urban areas.
Chilliwack residents Anne Russell and Daryl Rose (1993). Courtesy of the Chilliwack Progress.
The land between this new construction area and Chartwell Drive has recently been sold. Will this area be clearcut as well? Will a connecting road bring more traffic from both sides of the mountain?
These questions are not new - Anne Russell and Daryl Rose, long time residents of Little Mountain, successfully advocated for the preservation of this forested area almost 30 years ago. At that time, preserving areas for an urban forest went against the grain of a pro-development community (see headline).
Today we have a much better understanding of how the creation of nature parks can significantly impact mental health in a positive way.
The west and north faces of the mountain are owned by both the City of Chilliwack and private land owners. There is a significant area on the outer edges of the mountain where development is difficult, and where the city has already conceptualized a green belt in their 2020 Greenspace Plan.
The Little Mountain Green Belt concept utilizes the remaining undevelopable areas of private land around the North, West and South faces of the mountain. Note that the development in the middle of the map has already begun. The large area west of the development (to the north and east of area 3 - City Property Reservoir) is part of two parcels of land that our group aims to raise money to purchase for City parkland.
Image Source: City of Chilliwack 2020 Greenspace Plan
The initial concept for the park includes multiple access points, an accessibility trail, viewpoints and a trail network for both walking & biking.
The concept takes into account protected habitat areas of he Oregon Snail and other protected or important animal / plant species integral to the ecosystem.
Initial Park and Trail Network Concept (LMPP / CPS)
By acquiring portions of the private land, the Chilliwack Park Society aims to facilitate creation of a connected urban forest park with walking and biking trails for families, seniors and school field trips. Our Society has already created two well used parks in the Eastern Hillsides, Chilliwack Community Forest and Lexw Qwo:m Park. Chilliwack Park Society is a non-profit that "promotes and maintains parks and trails in and around Chilliwack, and advocates for physical activity outdoors. We strive to shape our community into the outdoor destination it has the potential to be."
Photos by Jenna Hauck, Courtesy of The Chilliwack Progress
How Can You Help?
Thank you for your interest is being part of the Little Mountain Preservation Project! We know we can't do it alone but with more people willing to help, we will reach our goal. Here are the 4 best ways to help make the Little Mountain Preservation Project a success
Come and walk the trails!
Once you immerse yourself in this magical and invigorating area, you'll understand why we are working so hard to preserve it. Find trailheads on Quarry Road, and at the end of Swallow Place. The official trailhead is on Quarry Road where it intersects with Beaver Crescent. It is also accessible from Kinsman Park off Hope River Road.
Tell people about us!
We know there are more people who understand the importance of creating an urban forest park - so please share our project far and wide! Trees, endangered species, biking, hiking, forest bathing, mental health and physical fitness buffs all welcome.
Write your local leadership.
If you ever considered writing a letter to our municipal and provincial leadership, this is the time. Write your own, or if you are short on time use our handy template at the top of this page for quick action.
This is a grassroots movement where a small group of determined individuals and park lovers are looking to raise some large amounts of money. Every little bit counts.
Sample Letter of Support to your local MLA, Mayor & Council
Mayor Popove & Chilliwack City Council,
I am writing you today as a resident of Chilliwack to request that you work alongside the Chilliwack Park Society and local developers to explore every possible avenue to protect the last accessible urban forest area in North Chilliwack: Little Mountain.
Mature forests act as civic infrastructure. Their foliage cleans and cools our air while their root system stabilizes soil and prevents mudslides and floods. The incredible geographical positioning of Little Mountain provides tens of thousands of North Chilliwack residents easy access to elevation hiking and forest immersion which is important for lowering anxiety and supporting both mental and physical wellness.
For some of our residents, transportation barriers exclude them from enjoying other parks like the Community Forest, Rotary Trail & Vedder Mountain. In many cases, these are the families that can most acutely benefit from a no-cost amenity that increases mental wellness, lowers anxiety and promotes healthy exercise.
Access points to Little Mountain trails are within a 15-minute walk/bike radius for tens of thousands of families and residents. The new Little Mountain stairs are a 60-second walk from the closest bus stop, and an 8-minute walk from the Yale Menzies exchange, widening access all of North Chilliwack and beyond.
The Chilliwack Park Society has proven with the Community Forest, Lexw Qwò:m and other nature park areas that residents want and use this infrastructure. As our city grows in population and more of our greenspaces become neighbourhoods, more and more people are being squeezed into fewer natural areas. This is one of the last forests under City control.
I implore you to look very seriously at ways to not only preserve the City owned land on Little Mountain, but to find ways to expand the park, through park budgets, developer incentives, and local / provincial partnerships.
Time is truly of the essence. If you haven’t hiked on Little Mountain yet, please take the time to hike the trails and see the forest that is in danger as the clearcuts continue.