Smoky River Regional Economic Development

Dan Dibbelt
It can be hard to see the good in the economy when there seems to be very little of it.

Oil prices are still down, industry uncertainty in the new federal and provincial governments and the loss of businesses across the province all culminate into the hardship many Albertans are feeling.

The low Canadian dollar has also caused many people to cancel or at lest reconsider their holiday plans.

While all these variables make it difficult to see a positive side these days, there is at least one. When these factors combine to create less disposable income and uncertainty for the future, most people alter the holiday plans and stay close to home.

We often take for granted what we have in our own backyard and often we actually take for granted our backyard. A vacation at home can often be the most relaxing and cost effective holiday you can have.

You have a bed and pillows that you love and are used to, you have a fridge stocked with the food you like to eat and you get to stay for free.

In the Smoky Region there is much to see and do, and I suspect there are many of us who haven’t bother to see what we have right here.

The Kimiwan Bird Walk attracts tourists from across the province and even Canada. I know it was one of the first sights I took in when I first moved to the region. The fact that we have a nationally recognized bird nesting area here is pretty impressive, and well worth a visit.

Plan a golfing week, right here at home. With Five-Star and Lakeside golf courses in close proximity it is easy to hit both courses on the same day.

A short drive up Highway 2 gets you to the Heart River Course and of course there is the course at Eaglesham.

Up for a little history visit the Girioxville Stations of the Cross. Girouxville also has a great museum with artifacts that will even keep the kids happy or head over to Donnelly to the Societe Historique et Genealogique de Smoky River and discover your family’s roots.

The Town of Falher has their new kids’ park located next to the arena. It is an impressive park of the calibre usually seen much larger centres. Pack a lunch or stop at a local restaurant and pick up take out and have a picnic.

Humans are creatures of habit and we often do the same things over and over again. Try a new restaurant.
Girouxville Hotel has a restaurant that offers great food and reasonable prices. It’s worth a stop when you decide to go bowling at the regions bowling alley.

There are also a number of events always happening in the region. Coming up this Saturday, June 4 there is a motorcycle poker rally coming through Falher and Girouxville.

Donnelly is famous for its mud bogs, the honey festival is a crowd favourite and Donnelly will be hosting a trade show this year.

If you’re into aviation, you can head up for the Peace River Airshow during July 16-17. The airshow is always fun and has something for every one.

Both Harmon Valley and Lac Cardinal will have their rodeos this year.

I am often on the road and don’t know how often I have driven by little hamlets and wondered what their story was or what was there.

This year, I have started taking 10 minutes out of my hectic schedule to pull into the hamlets and discover the hamlets in our region. Admittedly, none of these suggestions are quite the same as trip to Hawaii or Mexico, but we truly have the best summers in the world.

The super long days, the beautiful views, the clean air, the broad skies and the friendly people – all these work together to make the Smoky Region and the Peace Region a true and affordable holiday destination.

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