The confluence area of the Three Rivers was known to the native people since as early as the end of the last Ice Age, more than 10,000 years ago. As the glaciers melted and receded, they paused here creating a high point in the topography of the land. Early native people followed the edge of the glacier taking advantage of the food sources it provided, such as vegetation and wild game. The St. Mary's and St. Joseph Rivers join a few hundred yards east of this point and form the Maumee River that flows east to Lake Erie. The waters west of this high ground flow into the Wabash River and eventually to the Gulf of Mexico. Native Americans first settled in the area in the late 1600s near the Maumee-Wabash portage, the headwaters of the Maumee River. The French were the first Europeans to enter this area in the late 1600s. Because of the high ground, a land portage or carrying place was necessary to take advantage of the natural water passage from the Maumee to the Wabash. It was the shortest water route between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. During seasons of heavy rains, this area was inundated with floodwaters. One of the first recorded floods here occurred in 1790. However, the Native Americans told of the great floods their people had experienced in prior years. Floods, such as the ones of 1790 and 1982, demonstrate why development of permanent settlements in the flood plain is unwise. Headwaters Park is the result of the lesson taught by the first Americans to settle here over 200 years ago.