Heavner Canoe and Kayak Rental - Proud Lake

2775 Garden Road
Milford, MI 48380


It all began with one canoe. Chester and Stella Heavner lived in the city of Detroit. They were very active in American Youth Hosteling and enjoyed canoeing. They bought their first canoe in 1942, a red canvas Old Town. Soon friends wanted to borrow the canoe, so that left them without a canoe to use. So they bought another one so they would have one to loan and one to use themselves. Soon both canoes were on loan constantly, so they bought yet another. They decided to start charging a small fee to use them, and a business was born. As Stella remembers it, the first fee they charged was 25 cents an hour! In 1953, they bought property in the Proud Lake Recreation Area. They came with 3 canoes and by the end of the year they had a total of 8 canoes, plus a trailor to haul them. For the first summer, they lived in a tent, right about where the canoes are now. They dredged a canal out to the river and built a house that fall.

In the past 50 years the business has grown to have over 200 canoes and kayaks for rent, as well as for sale. We offer many options for specialized canoe trips, from 1-1/2 hours to 2 days, even to include a first class catered meal.

Mr. Heavner died in 1998 but Mrs. Heavner still lives in the original house and at 96, is still involved with the business. Their son, Alan, is now the owner and manager. Their second son, Herb, proposed to his wife in a canoe! Herb and Verna have 2 sons, Matt, and Bruce who is married to Dana. They have 6 children, the fourth generation of Heavners!

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