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Nordegg is a fascinating townsite that is being resurrected thanks to its beautiful surroundings and relative serenity. Year-round there is a self-serve gas station (gas, diesel, 20/30lb propane bottle exchange) with an attached convenience store (including general merchandise and clothing, fishing and hunting supplies, snack foods and drinks), and a nearby hotel complete with restaurant, pub and off-sales alcohol. In town you can find a spa salon, and a beer store (beer, wine, spirits). Essential local services include a post office, public library, community centre, school, fire department and public works facility. In the summer additional businesses open including a fast food shop, gift shop, additional restaurants, museum, 9 hole historic golf course and regular tours of the restored coalmine site.
Nordegg can be found almost mid-way along Alberta's Highway #11 between Rocky Mountain House (89 kms east) and the Icefields Parkway (96 kms west). Attractions within 40 kilometres radius include: Big Horn Dam, Crescent Falls, Baldy (Shunda) Mountain, North Saskatchewan River, and much more.
Though surrounded by wonderful slopes including Baldy (Shunda) Mountain and the Coliseum Mountain crater (a natural amphitheatre), there are no commercial ski areas there. The townsite was originally constructed in 1914 as a company town for the nearby Brazeau Collieries coal mining complex. The mines operated from 1911 to 1955, before closing down. Brazeau Collieries Complex was declared a Provincial Historic Resource in 1993. Then, in 2002, it was designated a National Historic Site of Canada, representing all the coal mines of Canada, and their contribution to the development of the nation. In recent years, Clearwater County has begun to sell small parcels of land near the historic downtown site, and there are now thirty or forty new resort style homes across the highway from the old town-site (North Subdivision). The population of this community is estimated between 80 and 200. During its glory days as a mining town, the population peaked at 3,000, and many foundations and ghost streets still exist on the hillside above the current developed area.
Activities in the community and immediate area include:
Winter - Cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hiking, tobogganing, quadding, snowmobiling (sledding), ice skating, wildlife photography (elk, moose, deer, cougar, bear, wild horses, lynx, coyotes, methane ice bubbles, etc).
Summer - Hiking, cycling, nature walks, quadding, motorcycling, wildlife photography (same as winter plus bears and birds).
Near this place are lands sacred to the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, seldom-explored caves, and hundreds of kilometres of rivers and creeks awaiting the touch of a paddle. The North Saskatchewan River is located just 20 kilometres south, and Lake Abraham 25 kilometres west near the Big Horn Dam. The air is fresh and invigorating here.
To the Town That Bears Your Name: A Young Woman's Journey to Nordegg in 1912, by Martin Nordegg, is a good background to the early days of the town. Available in English and German.
Martin Nordegg: The Uncommon Immigrant, by W. John Koch, is a biography of the town's founder and namesake.