Prior to the early 1900s, people in Delta relied on sloughs and rainwater for drinking and washing. Ladner had a thriving dairy and agricultural industry hindered by local wells that would dry up in summer. The solution was to drill wells at the southern slope of the North Delta Uplands and construct a pump house to pump water up hill to a large reservoir.
The reservoir, built near 59 Avenue, allowed gravity to carry the water 15 kilometres through wooden stave piping to Ladner, spurring the growth of the local dairy industry and the construction of many new houses.
By 1920, the North Delta Uplands – renamed Watershed Park - had been logged of its primary-growth forest, including 45-metre-high redwoods. For decades onward, the scrub land sheltered deer and bear, which were hunted by local farmers.
Watershed Park continued to be a major source of water for Ladner and properties south of what is now Kittson Parkway. A more secure supply of water was eventually routed from the Seymour Watershed and Reservoir in the North Shore Mountains and across the Fraser River to Ladner.
Today, Watershed Park is home to a secondary-growth forest and those massive redwood stumps. The notches on their trunks, a metre or so above the ground, mark the position of fellers’ springboards from the 1920’s. It boasts many trails enjoyed by hikers, joggers, mountain bikers and horse riders alike.
Click to download your copy of the City of Delta's Watershed Park Trail Map.
People skating on the water reservoir near Peck Road, 1920.
Image CR-44 1982-64-11 courtesy of Delta Heritage Society.
Pumphouse in North Delta, part of the system that delivered fresh artesian water to farms in Ladner and Delta, 1910.
Image CR-44 2006-64-17 courtesy of Delta Heritage Society.