My Perspective and Reality of Northern Alberta
I live in and love northern Alberta. What is my reality in living and loving it here, seems to be so far out of line with some of the comments about the north that I have heard since becoming involved in the History Check app project.
To me there is no place like it that I have discovered. From my kitchen window I watch the deer graze on the lawn and sleep under the spruce trees. I have stood quietly in the bush (forest) and had rabbits run over my feet and one time a doe whitetail deer wander by nonchalantly within feet of me, like I wasn’t even there. For wildlife, remoteness and being able to take a walk and feel like no one has gone before me, this is the place.
Our ecosystems change rapidly. I can go for a mile hike and find lakes, streams or rivers, tall stands or poplar that change to pine ridges and go down a hill and be at the edge of muskeg.
I have read that the Philip J Currie Dinosaur museum is located in a “cold battered corner of northern Alberta” and I think – it is. (Follow this s link) I love the Grande Prairie Region in its beauty, its amenities and its history. If you would like to see a different view of the Grande Prairie region – check out Famous Amos Photography’s Facebook Page Some of the pictures include snow but they certainly do not give you the vision that we are cold and battered – and yes we do have sunshine and summer up here.
The owner of Mirror Landing General Store in Smith told me of one person who had driven by for 4 years and stopped in one day for something simple and was astonished that there was fresh fruit and produce, as well just about everything else needed. These small stores carry a LOT of things – some even fresh baking. We are including these on the History Check mobile app to let people travelling through the region know about them. Hate to have you miss out on fresh bread, pastries and donuts.
When I do need to go to a major center it takes me about 45 minutes. One of my friends asked me how I could do that. I asked how long it took her to get home from work in rush hour traffic. The consensus was I had the better view.
When I hear things like there is nothing up there to see or do, or that it might not be your idea of a road trip, I shake my head and walk away. We already have over 50 museums online, we are working toward 130 Community Halls, curling rinks and other sites where our Agricultural Societies offer events from rodeos, to fall fairs to theatre, and even pumpkin weigh offs.
There are 25 golf courses that we have added, are working on the trails for bicycles, pack biking, hiking, cross country skiing, off highway vehicles, and horses. Then there are the boat launches, the camp grounds and the guided tours. I could rattle off hundreds of search terms that you could use to find things to do without even touching on the history.
By the way, we have a rich indigenous culture and anyone is welcome to most powwows – just give the respect deserved, and the two oldest European Settlements in what became Alberta are Fort Vermilion and Fort Chipewyan – yes older than Edmonton.
So the next time you hear that Northern Alberta might not be your first choice for a road trip you might want to re-think that before you take it for granted. I think the History Check project is important so that you can take a self guided tour. We don’t have all the sites up yet but they are coming. In the meantime play with the search functions – see what you can find – and look through the communities. Most have their history on board. We will be ready for spring 2018 – will you?