Community and Quality of Life

Athabasca River

Access to key pipeline and transportation systems are often cited as critical reasons for industry to be attracted to a region. So is lifestyle; the Alberta Energy Corridor’s proximity to Edmonton and its urban advantages allows companies to offer a better quality of life than is often possible in more remote areas, which increases a company’s ability to attract and retain employees.

Athabasca County

Athabasca County is situated close to the geographic centre of the province of Alberta, Canada. A mix of boreal and flatland, the region has its history shaped by the influence of the Athabasca River. From the south, the watershed direction of flow changes from south to north – water from the North Saskatchewan River flows east to the Atlantic Ocean and water from the Athabasca River flows north to the Arctic Ocean. The 55th parallel runs in between Grassland and Wandering River.

Bathed in beautiful warm light, the region enjoys daylight well past 10 p.m. on most summer nights – daylight hours reach 17 hours-plus of sunlight. While the winter months bring temperatures that dip low enough to create opportunities for wonderful winter activities, summer is nothing short of comfortable. The average temperature in July is in the mid-20s Celsius (mid-70s degree Fahrenheit) range, while those days of mid-30s Celsius (mid-80s degree Fahrenheit) are followed by evenings that are breezy and cool. At 533 metres (1,749 feet) above sea level, the region enjoys an average annual 382 millimetres (15 inches) of rain and 122 centimetres (4 feet) of snow.

Fishing by the RiverThe region is known for its guided fishing, riverboat tours, motorcycle tour routes and numerous camping and golf destinations. Summer and winter chartered fishing adventures are available with accommodations either in modern hotel/motel facilities or in cabins and lodges along the river or at nearby lakes. Riverboat tours and canoe and trapline adventures take visitors on an amazing journey down the Athabasca River to the Grand Rapids – through 200 kilometres (120 miles) of amazing scenery and wilderness. Riverboat transportation was the main mode of moving goods to market in the 1900s, and these days are recreated in the specialized river craft modelled after those used by the “river captains” who pioneered the region. Athabasca Landing Trail was the first overland route between Edmonton and Athabasca Landing, which became the central distribution point for all goods being shipped further north. In fact, at one time, Athabasca was a larger centre than Edmonton!

In winter months, the entire region becomes vast snowmobiling trails for both local and visiting enthusiasts. Numerous trails and tour routes are located throughout the region, where visitors can experience the vast wilderness by various modes of transportation. Many trails allow motorized all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), while others are strictly non-motorized use only. Whatever your mode of transport, you will be sure to discover the tranquility of scenic back country, abundant wildlife and majestic views of river valleys – in both summer and winter!

  • Poachers Landing Provincial Recreation Area: located close to Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. (Al-Pac), this is a camping and staging area for motorized vehicles and family riding. This network of marked trails and bridges winds through sand and pine terrain as well as poplar forests. The river valley course features steep sections popular with all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riders.
  • Muskeg Creek Park: 17.5 kilometres (10 miles) of non-motorized walking trails with year-round access situated within the town limits of Athabasca. A log chalet is available for use, as well as a picnic shelter with wood-burning stove. Interpretive signage along the trail informs users of points of interest. In winter, groomed trails are maintained for cross-country skiing and include a 1.2 kilometre (three-quarters of a mile) lit trail for evening use. Tawatinaw Valley also offers 25 kilometres (15 miles) of groomed trails for classic and skate technique.
  • Athabasca Landing Trail: 32 kilometres (19 miles) of trail from Athabasca through Colinton to Perryvale. The trail, non-motorized access only, winds through an array of terrain, from flat grassland to the rolling Tawatinaw Valley. Signage is located throughout the trailheads. There is camping available at the Athabasca Municipal Campsite.
  • Peace River Trail: located north of town of Athabasca via Highway 813, this route features 60 kilometres (36 miles) of trail that is open to motorized vehicles – all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles in winter. Trail signage is in place, with more being developed. There is parking available at trail access points and a staging area with moderate facilities at the trailhead. Three campsites are being developed along the trail. The area is a popular family riding destination, with some steep sections along valleys. Bridges are 2.4 metres (8 feet) in width.
  • The river valleys of Athabasca County are also alive in winter with downhill skiing. Tawatinaw Valley or Long Lake ski parks specialize in winter days of snow and ice. Special events are held throughout the season, and both locations offer full service rentals, concessions and chalet. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available.
  • Snowmobiling is a popular pastime during winter months throughout this region of northeast Alberta – 563 kilometres (338 miles) of trails on four routes from Swan Hills to Flatbush, Smith, Calling Lake and along the Athabasca River. Trails can also be found at Poachers Landing Provincial Recreation Area and on the Peace River Trail. Equipment rentals are available.

Town of Athabasca

Athabasca is the largest populated community in the Alberta Energy Corridor, attracting people to its mix of recreational, cultural and touring events and facilities. The immediate area of Athabasca offers close to 300 camping sites for day and overnight use. Several bed and breakfasts are available in the area, as well as guest cabins/lodges and hotels/motels.

  • Athabasca MultiplexAthabasca Multiplex is a new, modern facility with meeting rooms, multi-purpose room and hall facilities, a commercial kitchen, and stage setup and tear-down services. Event space can accommodate up to 1,600 people. As its name implies, the Multiplex has multiple function capabilities: exercise room, hockey and curling rinks, field house, WiFi and concessions.
  • Athabasca Landing Pool: from lane swimming to public swimming and training courses, this facility also holds a separate kiddie pool, hot tub and climbing rock wall.
  • Athabasca Golf & Country Club: boasting an incredible view from its patio level, this golf and country club’s 18-hole course is situated in an impressive valley setting and is known for its signature par 3 hole. The facility offers also offers a pro shop, driving range, restaurant and licensed clubhouse. RV and camping facilities can be found next door at Blueberry Hill RV Park.
  • River Front Park: located in the heart of Athabasca along the river, this venue features a skate and splash park, campground, boat launch, picnic grounds and a beautiful timber-constructed amphitheatre – site of the annual Canada Day celebrations and concerts every July 1.
  • Muskeg Creek Trails: 17.5 kilometres (10 miles) of non-motorized walking trails with year-round access situated within the town limits of Athabasca. A log chalet is available for use, as well as a picnic shelter with wood-burning stove. Interpretive signage along the trail informs users of points of interest. In winter, groomed trails are maintained for cross-country skiing and include a 1.2 kilometre (three-quarters of a mile) lit trail for evening use.
  • Nancy Appleby Theatre: unique to a community this size, the Nancy Appleby Theatre is a 280-seat facility with a 72.5 square metre (780 square foot) stage, Green Room, fully equipped modern lighting and sound board technology. The theatre has hosted world-known performers and entertainers, many of whom request return invitations to perform in this intimate setting.
  • Athabasca Ag Society: community hall with 275-person capacity. Full service Kitchen, air conditioning, WiFi, town services, group camping and fire pits.


Boyle offers four-season fun with its impressive abundance of lakes, trails, activities and events throughout the year. This growing community is home to newly upgraded agricultural and rodeo grounds, a recently expanded hockey/curling facility and a newly renovated community centre that seats 360 and features a full kitchen with hot tables, bar, small stage and sound system. The immediate area of Boyle offers close to 400 camping sites for day and overnight use.

  • Skeleton Lake, located outside town, features a nine-hole golf course – soon to be expanded to 18 – that is host to several high-profile tournaments and charity events. The course is a part 36, with a licensed full-service clubhouse and cart rentals.
  • Boyle RodeoThe Boyle Rodeo Grounds & Equine Centre hosts an annual rodeo every July with mini chuckwagon races, wild pony and horse-drawn wagon rides (two-horse heavy horse hitch), wild cow milking challenge, ladies’ calf dressing race, children’s chicken scramble and greased pig, and a live pony carousel. The equine centre runs throughout the year.
  • The Boyle Fish Pond, also just outside town, is stocked with trout and offers a picnic shelter, tables, fire pits and hiking trails. In winter, the facility is available for ice fishing.


Colinton is a bustling community in the picturesque Tawatinaw Valley that boasts the only bowling alley in the region and an outdoor skating rink. Antiques are available at the general store and the hotel outdoor patio is a must-be place for the barbeque “steak night” every Thursday all summer.


Grassland is the halfway point between Edmonton and Fort McMurray. It is home to an impressive community hall that hosts a variety of private and community events throughout the year, including the community Christmas party in December and a dinner theatre event each May. Grassland also features the high octane excitement of the annual SSRA-sanctioned Grassland Grass Drags and Quad pull every fall. This event brings snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) enthusiasts from across the province. Concessions, market, beer gardens and cabaret round out the weekend.; this event grows year after year and is becoming a premier event for snowmobile and ATV riders. Also in Grassland, a U-pick strawberry farm is being developed, along with a health resort with golf course, bird watching, bicycle paths, fish ponds and day-use area.


Rochester was established in 1912 by the Canadian Northern Railway and still remains a thriving, busy community with school, library, hotel and wonderful recreational facilities. The community comes alive with the annual Rochester Ag Fair the second week in August, featuring children’s games, a parade, horse show, concession and old-time bench show. Rochester is known for its beautiful campsite – and that’s saying something in this region of outdoor recreational facilities – located conveniently nearby Highway 2, a major north-south route in Alberta.

Wandering River

Wandering River is the last stop before Fort McMurray on Highway 63 – the major highway system running through the Alberta Energy Corridor. Wandering River is set in lush boreal forest and offers nine-hole golfing at its scenic Riverbank Golf Course, as well as camping and hotel accommodations.

Community Services

Numerous community organizations and services operate in the Alberta Energy Corridor region: service clubs, agricultural societies, horse clubs, community club associations, community centres, and sports and recreation organizations.

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