Visitors often come to Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows for agri-tourism – whether that be releasing chum salmon into Kanaka Creek or picking their own blueberries.
In Maple Ridge, tourism and recreation are a cornerstone of the community’s identity, said Tyler Westover, director of economic development.
“These two business groupings – recreation and tourism – represent approximately nine per cent of our business licences in the City of Maple Ridge,” he said.
They include agri-tourism operations, transportation, food and beverage, travel services, sport and recreation services, and other businesses.
Given the city’s close proximity to some of the most striking natural features that Canada offers, Maple Ridge has an extensive range of experiences and amenities to delight visitors, tourists, and residents.
These include outdoor wellness activities like hiking, cycling, horseback riding, backcountry helicopter tours, and dike trails that offer scenic vistas and access to berry farmland.
There are adventure opportunities like mountain bike riding, paint ball, and Wildplay Element Park.
Visitors can get a taste of the wares at Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, pick out a pumpkin at the Laity Pumpkin Patch, or enjoy a beer at a local craft brewery.
Westover also noted the city’s extensive network of parks and trails – with parks ranging in size from small, neighbourhood parks, to municipal parks with areas for specific activities, and community parks with large, open spaces for sports activities.
There are more than 100 kilometres of local hiking and riding trails across Maple Ridge – in addition to 50-60 kms in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
“The main access to Golden Ears park is through the City of Maple Ridge, which is an incredible opportunity for local businesses to serve visitors,” he said.
Recent investment has been made by the city in sports fields and recreation amenities, including, year-round synthetic fields.
“Maple Ridge hosts a number of tournaments that are organized by the Ridge Meadows Hockey Association, the soccer associations and other sports organizations that encourage people to come from other communities to visit ours,” said Westover.
The City of Pitt Meadows has completed a number of park projects to draw outsiders to the city. This year the city completed a park signage replacement project, made improvements to Shoreline Park, replaced playground equipment at Harris Road Park, resurfaced the racquet courts at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park, and more.
A parks, recreation, and culture master plan was adopted by city council last year. It will guide future decisions about facility investment, programming, partnerships, and service delivery. Some of the projects being examined are a trails strategy, a performing arts venue, and an indoor multi-sport facility.
Pitt Meadows also has an extensive network of trails and large water bodies including Pitt Lake, the largest freshwater tidal lake in the world, that is about 53 square kilometres in size, and the Pitt River that flows about 10 kms from the Pitt Lake to the Fraser River. These are popular for paddling, boating, hiking, and the enjoyment of nature.
According to the master plan, there are more than 69 kms of trails in Pitt Meadows including the Greenway, dike trails, and community park trails.
The city also invests more than $3 million every year in its parks, recreation, and culture services – about 10 per cent of its overall budget.
About 78 per cent of Pitt Meadows is agricultural land, that has given rise to a host of agri-tourism businesses from blueberry picking, to corn mazes, and a destination wedding location.
Hopcott Farms, at Old Dewdney Trunk Road and Reichenbach Road, offers cooking classes and Longtable community dinners, giving visitors a farm-to-table experience, and it features their cured meats, craft beer from Foamers Folley and local wines.
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