History

The Special Areas was a municipality born out of hardship and has transformed into a strong and progressive region in Southeast Alberta.    It has been said that there are no stronger people than settlers but even their sheer grit and commitment was tested in the early days.

Reaching out to start a new life, in an undeveloped region is more than most would think of doing.  The Special Areas was built by this courageous brand of pioneers, breaking land and breaking spirits and then building hope is what Special Areas is all about.

Why is this place called Alberta’s “Special Area”?

The short answer is:  we’re an amazing balance of
rich opportunity and quiet living, so we deserve a special name.  After all, where else do you find 5,000 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.