It was also the first time for Maple Ridge’s Margaret Parsons (middle), who joined fellow personal trainer Bruce Lockhart of Langley City for an hour-and-a-half trek around the park. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

PHOTOS: Diversity draws users to Aldergrove Regional Park

Rural park appealed to Lower Mainland families using Labour Day as a farewell to summer

It’s a Labour Day tradition for the Retallic family to hit one of the region’s larger parks and spend the day hiking, picnicking, and hanging out together before heading back to school and their busy lives.

This past Monday, the Delta family sought to explore – for the first time – Aldergrove Regional Park. In recent years, they’ve spent Labour Day at Golden Ears Provincial Park and Campbell Valley Regional Park.

“We’ve driven by this park countless times,” explained Karin. “This time, we thought we should give it a try. It’s nice. I didn’t realize there was this much here,” she said.

RELATED: ‘Enchanted Forest’ excursion unveils Aldergrove park’s new Nature Discovery Area

In years gone by, the family would have to opt for other parks with more traditional playgrounds, but her teenage sons were especially keen to climb around in the nature discovery park, including a giant stump stripped down and set up for curious climbers.

Saying they’d definitely be back again, especially appreciative of the clean bathrooms and fewer people, Dad (Rod) could be overheard saying how a giant stump like that might look nice in their front yard.

They’re glad they passed on busy spots like Buntzen Lake and White Rock, in favour of what they describe as a clean, quiet, and inviting rural park.

RELATED: What ever happened to Aldergrove ‘lake’?

The Retallics weren’t the only out-of-town families who stopped at the park on Labour Day to picnic, cycle, hike, or play.

Abbotsford couple Kirby Bergen and Alexandra DeZeeuw brought 17 members of their families together – many for the first time – for a socially distanced family barbecue. They had family come from around the Lower Mainland, including Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, and Mission.

“I think we needed to take th chance to get out here before summer ends,” said Alexandra, who used to come walking and jogging through the park regularly when she lived only four minutes away. Now that she’s 15 minutes away, in Abbotsford, she said she still comes out occasionally during the summer – opting instead to spend much of her down time hiking more challenging terrains. But come fall and spring again, she vowed she’d be back walking the trails.

RELATED: Meteor shower viewing party experience this August at Aldergrove Regional Park

Surrey’s Rivas family are frequent visitors to the park in the summer.

Salvador heads out with his wife and their three boys, ages 10 and 11, each weekend to cycle.

This was their third time this summer to ride the circuit at the Aldergrove park.

“We love the trails,” he said.

Langley City’s Bruce Lockhart is a frequent user of Aldergrove Regional Park, first being introduced by a friend some 10 years ago, when the lake was still part of the park.

“It was still a puddle back then,” he chuckled, never drawn to the lake but rather a fan of the six-kilometre trail.

This time out, he brought friend and fellow personal trainer Margaret Parsons of Maple Ridge. They typically hike together five days a week, and while liking Kanaka Creek Regional Park, Golden Ears Provincial Park on her side of the Fraser River, and the Fort-to-Fort and Houston Trails on this side – this will be a new contender among her faves.

“I love the wildness. I find it very wild and less groom than I’m used to,” Parsons said.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she added, noting she’ll “definitely” be back because it offers a nice mix of terrain.

Check out the virtual field trip options from Metro Vancouver Regional Parks.

Posted by Metro Vancouver on Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Abbotsford’s Suk Hmahil wasn’t looking for to hike or bike while visiting the park on Labour Day.

His hopes were aimed more at rest, maybe even getting in a catnap while his wife, Mandy, and their three-year-old son Rauhi played in the nature discovery area – an outdoor playground made from elements found in nature.

The family visit the park two to three times a week, young Rauhi loving to picnic and play in the meadows and forested areas.

“It’s a nice park, and lots of people don’t know about it – yet,” said Mandy, noting they typically switch between visit to the natural play area and the east end of the park – depending on the day.

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Ken and Dianna Cheng of Vancouver checked out the map for Aldergrove Regional Park on Labour Day, anxious to see what trails there were to explore. Ken, an amateur photographer, was particularly interested in learning more about the birds and other wildlife in the area to photograph. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

16-year-old Ryan Retallic, and his 13-year-old brother Jacob explored the nature discovery area that was once home to Aldergrove Lake. It was the first time, but not the last, that this Delta family plans to visit the tranquil and clean park. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Abbotsford’s Suk and Mandy Hmahil (bottom right) bring their three-year-old son Rauhi to the park to picnic and play at least two to three times a week. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Abbotsford couple, Kirby Bergen (centre) and Alexandra DeZeeuw (far right), brought their families together for the first time this past weekend. Seventeen were expected to attend, many who had never before visited Aldergrove Regional Park Monday. They came out Monday for a get-to-know-you, social-distanced family barbecue. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Abbotsford couple, Kirby Bergen (above) and Alexandra DeZeeuw, brought their families together for the first time this past weekend. Seventeen were expected to attend, many who had never before visited Aldergrove Regional Park Monday. They came out Monday for a get-to-know-you, social-distanced family barbecue. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Abbotsford couple, Kirby Bergen and Alexandra DeZeeuw, brought their families together for the first time this past weekend. Of the 17 expected to attend, it included a Maple Ridge couple (above), many who had never before visited Aldergrove Regional Park Monday, but came out Monday for a get-to-know-you, social-distanced family barbecue. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Aldergrove Regional Park was one of few parks in the Lower Mainland during the Labour Day long weekend that wasn’t overrun by visitors. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Abbotsford couple, Kirby Bergen (centre) and Alexandra DeZeeuw (far right), brought their families together for the first time this past weekend. Seventeen were expected to attend, many who had never before visited Aldergrove Regional Park Monday. They came out Monday for a get-to-know-you, social-distanced family barbecue. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Among the amenities offered at Aldergrove Regional Park, there is a nature discovery area that serves as an educational playground for youngsters. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

Aldergrove Regional Park was one of few parks in the Lower Mainland during the Labour Day long weekend that wasn’t overrun by visitors. (Roxanne Hooper/Aldergrove Star)

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