Sproat Lake is named after Gilbert Malcolm Sproat, a native of Galloway, Scotland who arrived on Vancouver Island in 1860 with men and equipment to establish a sawmill at the head of the Alberni Canal.
Sproat was the resident manager of Anderson & Company, Victoria, that exported spars to Europe from Puget Sound and Vancouver Island, a business transferred to southern ports after the end of the US Civil War. As Sproat was a frequent visitor to the west coast of Vancouver Island in connection with his business, he was appointed principal customs officer and his duties included control of the First Nations. Some of his experiences and observations are embodied in his very interesting and now scarce book “Scenes and Studies of Savage Life,” published in London in 1868.
The park was given to the province in 1966 by MacMillan Bloedel Limited. Before it became a provincial park it was known as Smith’s Landing, after George Smith, who farmed the area.
Sproat lake Park is home to one of the finest panels of prehistoric petroglyphs in British Columbia. Little is known about this petroglyph, named K’ak’awin, but it isn’t hard to imagine this rock carving as depicting some mystical ancient monsters of the lake.