Maple Ridge Park

In the 1950’s, camping was permitted in Maple Ridge Park. [P02143]

The land now occupied by Maple Ridge Park was donated to the district in September 1924 by the BC Electric Railway Company.  The company, owner and operator of the hydroelectric complex on the Stave River, had been developing plans for a new dam and powerhouse on the Alouette, and held the property at Lillooet Road (232nd Street) and the South “Lillooet” [Alouette] River for use related to construction.  When the company decided to construct an earthfill dam at the outflow of Alouette Lake using an extension of the Abernethy and Lougheed Logging Company railway, locating the new powerhouse at the mouth of a water diversion to Stave Lake, the property on Lillooet Road became excess holding.  The Alouette dam would be completed in 1926, diminishing high water levels in the river and increasing the suitability of its floodplain for recreation.

The municipality had wanted to obtain the site for a public campground, and tenting was permitted at the park from its opening until the campground site was closed and re-leased to Wild Play Adventure Park in 2010. 

In 1912, we see members of the Menzies and Best families enjoying the Alouette with a large log jam in the background. [P01058]

Summer picnics were an important form of weekend recreation for Maple Ridge residents around the turn of the last century.  Women would cook tasty but portable meals to be loaded into the family wagon along with spruced up children and husbands, and they would be off to the picnic location.  With many wooded, riverside sites around the district, earlier it had been less important to preserve these as public property.  The banks of the Alouette River had always been a choice spot for families from Haney.

The Davenport family enjoys a summer picnic in the park on July 24, 1927.

The park also features some beloved summer swimming holes including Davidson’s Pool, Hot Rocks and the Lillooet Road [232nd Street] bridge. Jumping off the bridge became more dangerous as water levels lowered but the pool and Hot Rocks remain as favourite swimming places to this day.

During the 1950s and 1960s the Lions Club operated a concession stand in the park on weekends through the good weather months.  The stand was located near where the large picnic shelters are now.

Despite the Alouette Dam generally lowering water levels in the river, the park has flooded multiple times.  A 1955 flood, which resulted from high October rainfall and technical failure at the BC Electric dam itself, littered the park with garbage and material from homes upstream – including an intact refrigerator.