NAMESAKE Many of the place names in the area are named after early ranchers and homesteaders; such is the case with Heffley Lake and Heffley Creek. They were named after Adam Heffley who entered BC as a mining prospector. He became involved in the unsuccessful attempt to use camels as pack animals during the gold rush of 1858. Heffley settled at Bourdignon Creek (Heffley Creek) in 1865 and resided in the area until his sudden death by heart attack in 1872. Bourdignon Creek became known as Edwards Creek. Later, with the establishment of the post office in 1905, the name of the area, the creek and the lake were officially named Heffley. The origin of Heffley Creek (the creek itself) is Andy Lake, a small lake southeast of Heffley Lake. This seasonal creek from Andy Lake, flows into the east end of Heffley Lake. It is picked up again as it flows from Heffley Lake through the dam at the west end of Heffley lake.
ARMOUR CREEK Armour Creek, at the east end of Heffley Lake, was named after Sam Armour, a rancher who summer ranged his cattle in the area of the creek. He and his family resided on their ranch near where Rayleigh is now located. The creek headwater is near Hyas Lake and Hadlow Lake (the very tiny lake just west of Hyas). This is the main water source entering the east end of the lake and the primary spawning creek for trout. Most years, as the summer progresses, the lower section flows underground leaving a dry creek bed. Unfortunately, many fry are trapped in pools and cannot reach the lake. Locals frequently bucket some of the young fish to the lake. Many years ago, a culvert was put in under the creek bed to facilitate their return to the main lake but the culvert has long silted up and is no longer of use.
CHRISTIAN CREEK Christian Creek bypasses the east end of the lake and runs through a culvert near Lake Bay Road. From there it flows toward Whitecroft where it joins Louis Creek. During the spring melt, an arm of the creek flows through the Forestry Campsite and into the lake. Salmon have been spotted in lower reaches near Whitecroft meadows. In the flooding that took place in the spring of 2017, the road was almost washed out near Lake Bay Road and extensive damage was done to the gravel pit below.
SIWASH CREEK Siwash Creek is a seasonal creek running under the highway and through Indian Band Land at the west end of the lake. The name Siwash was taken from Chinook jargon and is a derogatory term for ‘Indian’. This creek provides limited spawning for fish. When it flooded in 2017, the flow ran over the roadway and down the north side to a depression at Little Heffley Lake. When that filled and more water continued to flow, it washed out part of the road at Little Heffley Lake. It also caused damage to property and a cabin on the Indian Reserve land.
THE SPRINGS A source of year-round water locally known as ‘The Springs’, flows into the lake on the south shore of the main part of the lake, opposite the end of Heffley Lake Road. In the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s a pipe carried water from the creek to a log jutting into the lake, providing easy access for locals to fill up their drinking water containers. In the 1970’s, a waterline put in high up in the creek, stretched across the lake to a cabin, creating a gravity feed system. A forty-five-gallon drum was submerged into the creek bed. A smaller drum filled with sand was placed into the larger drum to filter the water. Over time, problems occurred with damage to the pipe and the filter system. The pipe is still there but has not been used for some time. Recent testing of the Spring water showed it to have a very high coliform count and unsuitable for drinking. Other seasonal creeks flow into the lake and there are numerous springs bubbling to the surface of the lake.
ANNA’S ISLAND Anna’s Island is the local name for the large island in the West Bay. The naming of the island is a sad story. Anna and Stu Lang built a home on Lakeshore Road in the 1970’s. Anna died suddenly from a brain aneurysm leaving behind a husband and two young children. Stu applied to the BC Government to name the island after her. However, Stu later died suddenly, and we don’t know if the name was officially approved. MILL BAY This bay is located at the east end of the lake where the present -day boat launch area is located. In 1946, Alfred Balison bought the sawmill operation located at that site. Later, he turned it into a portable operation. He operated in the area until 1951. He moved the mill to Heffley Creek and named it Balco. In the 1970’s it was purchased by Canadian Forest Products. Old slag piles of lumber strips can still be found in the surrounding area.
FISHING RESORTS The first resort to open was the Heffley Lake Fishing Camp, consisting of three cabins. It was located at the southeast side of the lake. The owner and operator, Herbert Smith closed the camp down in the early 1950’s due to poor fishing. At that time the lake was heavily infested with shiners and pea mouth chub. On September 8th, 1957, the lake was poisoned using Toxaphene. By 1960, it was considered safe and restocked with Rainbow trout. Mr. Smith reopened his camp, expanded and operated it for years. Later, three other families ran it as a resort. The Marshes, the Salters, and the Millers. Sandra Miller was very active in the BC Fishing Resort Association as well as known for baking and selling bread. After the Millers sold, it was no longer used as a resort. We are not certain when the second resort, named the Golden Horn opened. It is located at the northeast side of the lake. In the fall, with the changing colours, it was indeed ‘golden’. In 1988 the Zimm family sold to Dave Lumsden and family. They renamed it the Hitch ‘N Rail. This family-run resort featured horseback riding which suited the name change. It is still owned and operated by the Lumsden family, offering cabins, tenting and R.V. sites.
TKEK-YEEL-STEM- HEFFLEY IR 5 This lovely piece of Kamloops Indian Band land is located at the west end of the lake situated between the two Heffley lakes. Cabins on the property are used seasonally. After the flooding event in 2017, new cabins were built. This area is the location of the dam and spillway managed by the Heffley Irrigation District to regulate the lake level.
PROPERTIES There are 103 parcels of land on the lake. Most are lots for individual home ownership. Initially they were provincial government leased lots. In 1989, the government opened the lots up for outright purchase. Most people chose to do that, if not the first year, shortly afterward. The cost to buy the lots averaged around $23,000, when first offered.
Photo: Top of Page: Photo of Adam Heffley on his Camel.
~Thanks for tuning into Chapter 1 of our compilation and interpretation of the history of Heffley Lake! Stay tuned as we continue to explore the history of this beautiful place we get to call home - we hope you've enjoyed this read as much as our community members have in pulling it together!~
Data Compiled by: Ian Stewart, Doug Broadfoot Source Information: Mary Balf and John Stewart (Kamloops Museum), Heffley Creek Recreation Association, Margaret Marriot, Skye Dunbar, and Kamloops Newspaper