About the Special Areas
The Special Areas was a municipality born out of hardship and has transformed into a strong and progressive region in Southeast Alberta.
Reaching out to start a new life in an undeveloped region is more than many people would think of doing. The sheer grit and commitment of settlers was tested in the early days. The Special Areas was built by this courageous group of people.
"The Special Areas story isn't one of disillusion, mass abandonment, poverty and misery. It is rather a story of determination, innovation and the modest triumphs of those who persevered and discovered how to make the land produce a living."
Excerpt from "A Land Reclaimed: The Story of Alberta's Special Areas" by Jack Gorman
Why is this place called Alberta’s “Special Area”?
The short answer is: the area holds an amazing balance of rich opportunity and quiet living, so it deserves a special name. After all, where else do you find 4,249 people living great lives on 5,000,000 acres of breath-taking land?
Here’s the long answer: Parts of southeastern Alberta were hit particularly hard by the Depression and drought of the 1930s. In 1938, the Provincial Government established a special governing body – called the Special Areas Board - to provide municipal services and supports in place to enable this region to recover and thrive. Like a municipal government, the Special Areas Board looks after roads and parks, provides water and emergency services, manages public land and community pastures, and develops economic development and agricultural conservation strategies.