A previously unnamed creek in the Bow Valley near Canmore has recently been named Bill Griffiths Creek. The name commemorates William “Bill” Griffiths. The spring-fed creek rises just east of the TransCanada Highwayand just south of the town of Canmore. It flows south-easterly, generally parallel to the Canadian pacific Railway tracks, for approximately four kilometres before joining the BowRiver about three kilometres upstream from the hamlet of Deadman’s Flats.
Bill Griffiths was a fisheries biologist with Alberta Fish and Wildlife. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the Universityof Alberta and a Masters degree from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He worked for Alberta Fish and Wildlife briefly in 1976 and again from 1979 to 1983, this time as the Regional Fisheries Biologist based in Calgary. In this position he initiated new fisheries management strategies and regulations aimed at enhancing the Bow River’s trout fishery. He also did freelance consulting work in Burundi, Africa from 1983 to 1984, after which he returned to Alberta as an Environmental Assessment Biologist with Alberta Environment.
In 1985, he returned to Fish and Wildlife where he coordinated volunteer efforts to establish fisheries habitat enhancement programs. In 1987, he completed two major enhancement projects; one at Gap Lake in conjunction with the Sarcee Fish and Game Club and the other on a small creek near Canmore with the cooperation of the Upper Bow Valley Fish and Game Club. This second creek, which is the one that now bears his name, is now considered to be one of the most important spawning areas for brown trout in the BowRiver watershed. Due largely to his efforts, the Bow River has become recognized as a world-class trout fishery by scientists, writers and anglers.
Bill Griffiths died in 1988 and this creek has been locally known as “Bill Griffiths Creek” since that time. This name, now made official, commemorates his commitment to developing the brown trout fishery in the Bow River and his connection to this creek, which has become the subject of many studies and reports.
The naming proposal was made by former colleagues and students of Bill Griffiths. Local support was indicated by a petition. The Municipal District of Big Horn, the Town of Canmore and the management of the Kananaskis Country Provincial Parks all supported the proposed name. The Alberta Historical Resources Foundation approved the name during its November 27, 2010 meeting and the Minister of Culture and Community Spirit concurred with the decision on February 23, 2011. Notice of the decision was published in Alberta Gazette on April 15, 2011.
National Topographic System Map Sheet: 82 0/3 – Canmore
Latitude/Longitude: 51° 4′ 20″ N & 115° 20′ 0″ W to 51° 3′ 30″ N and 115° 17′ 30″ W
Alberta Township System: SW¼ Sec 27 Twp 24 Rge 10 W5 to SE¼ Sec 23 Twp 24 Rge 10 W5
Description: Flows south-easterly into the Bow River, approximately 3 km south east of Canmore and 75 km west ofCalgary.
Written by: Ron Kelland, Historic Places Research Officer and Geographical Names Program Coordinator