What is the Ecosystem Study Area?

The Trinity Western University Ecosystem Study Area (ESA) is an area dedicated to the study, preservation, and proper management of the environment. It is a valuable area of diverse and sensitive habitat, containing part of the Salmon River and some tributaries. Because the Salmon River is a key salmon-producing river in the Lower Mainland, it is essential that we manage it appropriately for these pollution-sensitive fish. Additionally, numerous other species have been catalogued in the ESA and the surrounding area, several of which are rare or endangered.

History of the ESA

The area around the ESA has a long and diverse history. At the time of European settlement, the area was occupied by the Kwantlen band of the Hakomelem (Stalo) sub-tribe of the Cowichan (Coast Salish) people. Previous to this it had been peopled by the Coquitlam sub-tribe, who were invaded and pushed out by the Kwantlen. Europeans first came into the picture in 1824, when James Macmillan led a group of explorers who camped at a site right next to the ESA December 15th-16th.

In 1876 the land was divided into lots, although it is unknown when and to what extent the land was settled. Some areas adjacent to the ESA indicate old growth forests, although the vast majority, if not all, of present-day ESA land is second-growth. Trinity Western University is located on what was one of the original Hudson's Bay Company farms, established shortly after Fort Langley was first founded in 1827. The land was bought for the purposes of creating Trinity Western College (now Trinity Western University) in 1960, and the ESA was established in 1998.