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.


Prairie Land Regional School Division No. 25 and Prairie Rose School Division No. 8 are the main providers for education within the Special Areas.

Prairie Land Regional School Division
Altario School
Berry Creek Community School
Consort School
Hanna Primary
J.C. Charyk School
Veteran School
Youngstown School

Prairie Rose School Division
Jenner School
New Brigden School
Oyen Public School
South Central High


Roads in Special Areas

Provincials Highways1,481 kms
Local Roads5,925 kms
Graveled Roads4,022 kms
Graded Roads (Trails)1,644 kms
Oiled Roads200 kms
Based Roads41 kms
Paved Approach, access and park road18 kms
Undeveloped Road Allowances12,802 kms


Map books are available from each of the District Offices:

– Special Area No. 2 – Hanna: 403-854-5625
– Special Area No. 3 – Oyen: 403-664-3618
– Special Area No. 4 – Consort: 403-577-3523

Special Area Searches

Requests can be forwarded to sasearches@specialareas.ab.ca. There will be a $3.00 + GST charge for each parcel. Special Areas also offers a web title search account that can be set up to allow clients do their own searches and be billed automatically. For more information please contact the Hanna District Office at 403-854-5625.