Our Natural Strengths

Natural Attractions & Features
A full million hectares in our community is managed by West Fraser Mills Ltd. under a sustainable Forest Management Area agreement with the Province of Alberta. Coal mines also operate in the area, primarily along the Hinton-Cadomin corridor and at Obed Mountain. With some of Alberta’s richest coal seams located here, and with plans for new mines approved, we anticipate a sharp increase in coal mining in the future. Hundreds of gas extraction sites and supporting pipelines are also part of the landscape. All industries are regulated by varying levels of government standards to ensure compliance.

Biodiversity in our area is at risk due to both natural and human-caused factors. Species at risk (and in need of protection) include bull trout, grizzly bear, Athabasca rainbow trout, woodland caribou and many types of amphibians, birds and plants. Invasive species are a significant concern. Most notably, the mountain pine beetle migrating from British Columbia is threatening the health of the forest. Government and industry partners are working together to manage this and other threats.

90% of the rural land around Hinton is owned by the Province of Alberta - Alberta Lands Registry
River Hwy 40
Recreational Use & Abuse
Our community enjoys enviable access to parks and natural areas. Nearly two dozen trails loop through Hinton and beyond, connecting neighbourhoods with scenic spots and in-town amenities. Numerous parks invite active living, some built in partnership with neighbours, service clubs or corporate citizens. Examples include Beaver Boardwalk a wetland pathway with seating areas, an outdoor classroom, interpretive signs and an observation tower constructed by volunteers using materials and funding provided by West Fraser Mills Ltd. and other partners.
“The town's Beaver Boardwalk...along with the town's implementation of a public system to serve its 9,825 residents, has been a testament to Hinton's vision to create a sustainable and enjoyable living community.” - Five Great Lifestyle Communities – Alberta Venture, June 2010
Another unique site, the Natural Resource Interpretive Park, showcases natural resource management with self-guided interpretive trails, a fire lookout tower, giant mi ne truck, adventure playground and picnic area. In the surrounding area, opportunities to interact with nature abound, including a vast network of roads and trails in the woodlands managed by West Fraser Mills Ltd. Nearby you’ll also find William A. Switzer Provincial Park, Willmore Wilderness Park, Jasper National Park and 18 other provincial recreational and natural areas.

Conflicts frequently arise among ATV and other off-road vehicle users, walkers and bikers over best use of the natural landscape. The Hinton Mountain Bike Association demonstrates what can happen when use and stewardship are held in balance. Within five years, the association not only revived, repaired, marked and mapped several local trails, but also built Alberta’s largest free access Mountain Bike Park with support from local partners. This first-class facility is attracting riders of all ages who are improving their skills, while enjoying the sheer fun of the ride.
“This is an outdoor paradise to all walks of life, including those who enjoy ATVs. A strong leader in this area can make this a wonderful draw for influx of business and tourism for this town. It just needs to be handled correctly, and I know it can be done.” - Community Consultation Participant