News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


Updated: Join us for an underground tour inside the new Maple Leaf Reservoir

November 23rd, 2011 by Mike

Update 3 p.m.: Wow! We’ve had time to do a rough count – we had more than 100 requests before 8 a.m. By 2 p.m. we were north of 400 people who wanted to take the tour. And requests are still coming in. (Please stop now. We are for sure full.)

Here’s the good news: We’ve been talking all day with Seattle Public Utilities about whether we can expand this tour, either on Dec. 10 or at a later date. The answer appears to be yes – but it’s a guarded yes, as it’s tough to figure it out with Thanksgiving weekend looming.

So here’s our plan. We’re going to put all the requests we have in hand onto a spreadsheet. As we promised at 6:45 this morning, we’ll prioritize the first 100 folks who emailed us. We’ll let those people know that they are on the list by return email.

We’ll enter all the remaining responses, too – in order of when we got them. (We’ll try to sort out those of you who put your request in the comments below.) If we can expand, we’ll notify you, but it will probably be the middle of next week before we have details. We might have to recruit a few of you to help with the logistics.

Again, thanks for your support, for the neighborhood and Maple Leaf Life.

Update 9 a.m.: What a response! Requests for reservations are coming in faster than we can count them. Over 60 emails in the last two hours. I suspect we’re starting a waiting list. We’ll get back to folks, but it might take a bit. -Mike

Construction of the Maple Leaf Reservoir is almost complete. Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities.

It’s been well over a year since reader Greg Howard emailed us this question about construction at the Maple Leaf Reservoir:

“Has there been any discussion with the city to allow tours of the underground reservoir once it is completed? I personally find the project quite fascinating and it seems like it would be a once- in-a- lifetime opportunity to see it before it is put in use.”

We now have an answer. Yes.

Seattle Public Utilities and Maple Leaf Life are organizing a tour, for our readers and neighbors, inside the reservoir – perhaps Seattle’s biggest construction project – before it’s flooded.

The date is Saturday, Dec. 10. The time: 10 a.m. to noon.

The tour is limited to the first 100 people who respond by email to this invitation. There is no charge.

That Saturday we’ll take groups of 25 people at a time down inside the reservoir. Each tour will take about a half-hour. Inside, the project manager will describe the project and answer questions.

Bring rain gear and flashlights. (It’s not wet underground, but it might well be raining while waiting. There are lights underground, but we don’t want to risk a power outage. It is possible that really rotten weather might force us to postpone.)

There are long stairs with 48 steps going down beneath the covered lid. Wear sturdy walking shoes. It’s not possible to fit strollers or wheelchairs inside.

To register for the tour, send an email to “” Tell us how many people you’d like to bring, and what time you’d like to come. The tour options are 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.

We’ll get back to you with details. First come, first served. And thanks for supporting your neighborhood, and Maple Leaf Life.

Underground at the Beacon Hill Reservoir, after it was covered, before it was flooded. Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities.

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