Pilot Bay Lighthouse was established by the Government of Canada as an important aid to marine navigation. Put into operation on January 1, 1905, the building' light was visible on more than two-thirds of 65 mile long Kootenay Lake.
Originally an oil lamp guided the paddlewheel steamers and other maritime traffic to make the critical turn into the West Arm of the lake near Balfour. Over the next 88 years technology helped modernize the light source several times. In 1989 solar panels were installed to power the beacon's characteristic signal – one second of light followed by eleven seconds of dark.
The federal government decommissioned Pilot Bay Lighthouse in 1993 at which time regional groups and individuals worked together to have the building saved for its heritage and tourism values. Today this unique building is surrounded by Pilot Bay Provincial Marine Park and is maintained through a co-operative agreement between BC Parks and the volunteers of the Friends of West Kootenay Parks.