Nordegg Development


Background Summary

Nestled in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, the hamlet of Nordegg is overflowing with a rich natural and cultural history that both reflects a storied past and projects a vibrant future. A former coal mining town, Nordegg was once home to nearly 3,000 residents and the former Brazeau Collieries mine, which employed up to 600 mine workers. Beginning in 1914, mine operations would eventually produce approximately 300,000 tonnes of coal every year, making it one of the most productive mines in Western Canada. Among the key figures behind the establishment of Brazeau Collieries Ltd. and the development of coal mining in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains was Martin Nordegg, an entrepreneur from Berlin who would leave an indelible imprint in the eastern slopes.

In 1996, the property was transferred from the provincial government to Clearwater County, which comprised the surrounding areas. Following consultation efforts, the original Nordegg Development Plan, adopted in 2000, was approved by the County and work soon began on restoring the former town site as a mountain resort community with unique tourism experiences. Notably, the County chose to incorporate aspects of Martin Nordegg’s original community plan, specifically the half-circle street alignments that characterized the ‘Garden City’ planning movement in early 20th century European cities. With the adoption of the Nordegg Development Plan, Clearwater County committed itself to positioning the location as a mountain resort community in the heart of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Nordegg Architectural Illustration of Elizabeth Ave – Streetscape Concept Video


Nordegg Development Plan - 2021 Update

In 2020, Clearwater County began the process of updating the original Nordegg Development Plan.  Several projects and improvements have been completed in Nordegg since 2000, notably:

Development & Building
  • North side residential, leisure residential & commercial areas: 243 lots (sold out)
  • Historic core residential: lots currently for sale
  • Historic core commercial: phase 1 development underway
  • Lower Stuart Street: commercial developed (construction continues)
  • Manufactured home subdivision: phase 1 lots (currently for sale)
  • Industrial subdivision: south of Nordegg: phase 1 lots (sold out)
Essential Infrastructure
  • New potable water, fire hydrants, & piped system
  • New wastewater system pumps to lagoon south of townsite
  • New stormwater facilities & Martin Creek relocated with increased capacity
Public Health & Safety
  • Nordegg Public Services Building
  • Dry hydrants & pressurized fire hydrants 
  • Improved street lighting
  • Ongoing wildland fuel modification
  • Reclamation/monitoring of two old lagoons & landfill (setbacks reduced)
  • Coal slag mitigated
  • Wetlands identified and classified
  • Environmental Site Assessments completed
  • Shunda Creek protected as landfill and two old lagoons are now reclaimed
Community & Landmarks
  • Interactive Hwy 11 entrance sign
  • Discovery Park and Ice Rink built through residents’ initiative
  • Oldtimer’s campground privatized
  • Regional trail system plan & trail improvements
  • Building façade restoration
  • High speed internet improvements

An update was proposed to reflect updated circumstances, eliminate redundant or achieved objectives and make the document more concise. The County desired to gather views from current residents and property owners and modify the document to enable marketing of land separately. The original vision, however, remains the same.

So what has changed?

This Nordegg Development Plan - Update (the “Update” or “Update Plan”) builds upon the original 2000 Plan and remains a guide to future growth and development within the townsite of Nordegg.

Both the original Plan and this Update stem from a broader mandate from Clearwater County Council to accommodate and promote tourism and economic development in the West Country with Nordegg as the hub.

This Update recognizes that development of Nordegg is well underway largely in keeping with the original Plan. Having served its initial marketing purpose, the focus of this Update turns more to fine-tuning the policy component. It strives to maintain the fundamental vision for the townsite.

Development Constraints
  • Updated map now reflects completed site investigations
  • Addresses many past constraints that can now be removed
  • Demolished buildings are removed
  • Townsite is ready to move forward
Planning Area
  • Primary historic treatment area reduced in width
  • Manufactured home subdivision moved
  • Two historic mine site routes identified
Land Use Concept
  • Few major changes
  • Manufactured home subdivision relocated
  • Light Industrial Removed
  • Former North Nordegg (NE) Resort Commercial is leisure residential
  • Accommodate up to a four-storey hotel on Lower Stuart Street
Establish Development Priorities
  • #1 - Commercial in historic core
  • #2 - Other priorities will be “demand-driven”, but possibilities include:
    • South side residential, phase 2
    • Manufactured home, phase 2
    • Higher density residential
    • Resort commercial
    • Additional North side residential lots
Road Network
  • Updated to align future East Access with existing North Nordegg Access (for safety)
  • Future East Access Road into South Nordegg straightened (for safety)
Open Space Concept
  • Reflects community’s Nordegg Trail Plan (2016)
  • Accommodates OHV access from homes to West Country (via rear lanes and identified trails)
  • Multi-use paths and trails

Nordegg Development Plan maps, click here.

Nordegg Architectural Guidelines for NLDR and NMUR Districts - click here.

Connection to municipal water and wastewater services is required on each lot within the:

  • Nordegg Historic Downtown southern residential and commercial areas, and 
  • Nordegg Manufactured Home Park. 

The following is not permitted

  • private water wells
  • private sewage treatment systems

For securities, fees as well as connection inspections, please contact Kate Reglin, Project Technologist with Clearwater County’s Public Works Department at or (403)845-4444.

For an application, visit Forms & Applications.

Developed lots on Elizabeth Avenue (Residential NLDR and NMUR districts) and Centre Street and Tille Avenue (Historic Commercial Core HCC district) in Nordegg's historic downtown are availabe for purchase.  
Please contact Lorna Moore and Randy Moore at Royal LePage Tamarack Trail Realty for more information at (403) 844-9644 or at

*Prior to connection to Clearwater County’s common water and sewerage gathering systems a security fee of $6,000 shall be required in the form of a Letter of Credit or Certified Cheque.  The security amount will be held for a warranty period of one (1) year.  The warranty period will commence once the service installation and restoration work has been completed to the satisfaction of Clearwater County.

 **Prior to placement of a manufactured home the landowner shall enter into a fencing development agreement with Clearwater County.  A security fee of $2,000 shall be required in the form of a Letter of Credit or Certified Cheque.  The security amount will be held until the Developer completes the fence installation.  Should the fence not be completed within a three (3) year term, Clearwater County will hold the security and charge the Developer for the remaining cost of the fence installation at that time.

Clearwater County began planning for the residential subdivision in the old historic section of Nordegg in 2009.  More detailed design work was undertaken in 2010 and first phase of residential development began construction in 2011. The lots were ready for sale in 2013, and Elizabeth Avenue sold out in 2021.  Lots have become available for sale again in 2024.  
Please contact our real estate agent Lorna Moore or Randy Moore for more information at 403-844-9644 or at

The County undertook the servicing of the northern portion of Stuart Street in 2010, in conjunction with running the new force main for the waste water system as well as the relocation of Martin Creek to the west of Stuart Street.  It is the intention that a portion of land will be graded and serviced and made available for sale for commercial purposes in future years.  Stay tuned!

The general purpose of the Nordegg Industrial District "NI" is to accommodate industrial operations appropriate for the rural West Country in the vicinity of the townsite of Nordegg.
Examples of uses that are allowed in this district are the rental, sales or storage of industrial equipment, heavy industry contractors, construction camps, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and many more opportunities.
Phase 1 of the Nordegg Industrial subdivision was constructed by the County in the summer of 2005 and lots sold in subsequent years.  
Construction of a Phase 2 in the Nordegg Industrial Subdivision is underway in 2024, and lots are expected to be available in 2025.  Stay tuned!
As part of its efforts to support development and provide a wide range of housing options in the growing community, Clearwater County developed and by 2021 sold all of the Phase I of the Nordegg Manufactured Home Subdivision. The Nordegg Manufactured Home Subdivision is comprised of 30 parcels located on Quarry Road in the east side of Nordegg.   


The general purpose of the Nordegg Rural Residence District is to accommodate and to regulate conventional country residences in the forested slopes of Coliseum Mountain in the Northern portion of the Nordegg Townsite.

The last residential lot sales in the North Subdivision of Nordegg was held in 2007.  Clearwater County has developed and sold 96 Nordegg Rural Residential Lots in phased development since 1996.  

Please contact our real estate agent Lorna Moore or Randy Moore for more information at 403-844-9644 or at

The general purpose of the Nordegg Leisure Residence District ("NLR") is to accommodate and permit development of private, leisure residences (cottages) for leisure time use/non-continuous occupancy in the forested slopes of Coliseum Mountain in the Northern portion of the Nordegg Townsite.

Clearwater County has developed and sold Nordegg Leisure Residential lots since 2003.  The County began development of a phase of new cottage development in 2009. 

Please contact our real estate agent Lorna Moore or Randy Moore for more information at 403-844-9644 or at
Nordegg is a former coal-mining town situated in the foothills approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of Rocky Mountain House. It was founded by Martin Nordegg, a German entrepreneur, who after finding and staking claim to the coal field in the early 1900’s, reached an arrangement with the Canadian Northern Railway, whereby they would build a rail line to Nordegg for a supply of coal.

The Brazeau Collieries began mining in 1912 and the rail line into the area was completed in 1914. Nordegg coal was used mainly in the railway’s steam locomotives with a smaller portion for consumption in the coal furnaces of Alberta’s cities and towns.

Nordegg was one of many company coal-mining towns established in Alberta prior to World War I, however it proved to be unique among other coal-mining communities in the province. Nordegg would be a totally planned community in which Martin Nordegg took great interest and pride. Nordegg’s commitment to create a suitable living environment for the miners and their families was in sharp contrast to the efforts made by other coal companies in Alberta at the time. 

Initially, the town of Nordegg featured 50 modern miners cottages arranged in a semi-circular pattern around a central business and service core. The layout of the town as designed by Martin Nordegg, appears to have been adapted from the principles of Ebenezer Howard’s "Garden City” concept, and was more in keeping with the hilly topography of the site than the traditional grid pattern that was popular at the time. 

Nordegg became a thriving community, reaching a peak population of around 2,500 people, with amenities comparable to any prairie town in the province during that time period. Nordegg survived as a coal-mining town for over 40 years and in its heyday the mine employed 800 workers. As the railroads began to use diesel fuel and the domestic users began using natural gas, the loss of a market for their coal resulted in the closure of the Brazeau Collieries for good in 1955. Soon after the closure of the mine, the town was virtually abandoned. 

In the early 1960’s, an Alberta Government Corrections camp was placed in the old town site and almost all of the town’s older buildings were torn down as a result of work projects for the inmates. The existing infrastructure was maintained by Alberta Public Works. The town site of Nordegg was transferred from the Province of Alberta to Clearwater County in 1996. The mine site was left virtually untouched for several decades aside from some vandalism and pilfering of machinery and metal. 

Clearwater County officially took over the town site of Nordegg in March 1996 through a land trade with the Province of Alberta.  The Province had operated the town since 1963 when a minimum-security camp was set up in the old historic portion.  With the downsizing of the camp and plans to totally close the facility, discussions began with the County to take it over.  It was agreed that additional land to the north of Highway 11 would be included in the transfer so that some development would be able to occur immediately following the transfer.
At their July 14, 2015 meeting, Clearwater County Council approved the release of the Nordegg Trail Concept Plan for community review and comment. Public consultation occurred in August 2015.  
At their regular meeting on March 22, 2016, following the public consultation phase, Council endorsed the concept plan for a motorized and non-motorized trail system in Nordegg and area.  At the meeting, discussion took place on trail development funding, opportunities for grant funding and highway crossing safety. 
The Nordegg Trail Concept Plan includes the mapping of existing trails in the hamlet of Nordegg, as well as recommendations for trail improvements, expansions and a trail management plan that will further link the community to existing trails in the West Country.

Trail types incorporated in the Nordegg Trail Concept Plan include motorized (off-highway vehicles) and non-motorized (walking, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and some equestrian use). 
The Nordegg Development Plan, that guides overall planning for the hamlet, supports trail development and the Nordegg Trail Concept Plan is expected to encourage appropriate recreational trail use in the area.  With mapping existing trails, more trail signage and more information on trail rules, the Trail Plan is intended to support the safe use of trails and foster trail user compliance.


Nordegg and the Bighorn Backcountry have been a magnet for recreational trail activity for decades.  In recent years expanding development at Nordegg has seen increased trail use.  Both the number and types of trail uses have expanded significantly (for example, OHV and mountain bikes).  Each type of trail use has its own unique requirements for trails and recreational experience.

To date, conflicts among trail users have been limited.  However, increased pressure for trails may eventually result in competition for trail routes and conflicts among trail users. 

The purpose of the Nordegg Area Trails Concept Plan is to provide direction for future trail improvements and expansion so there will more opportunities for quality, sustainable trails for everyone to enjoy.  The Trails Concept Plan identifies land areas where different types of trails can be developed and maintained, but not necessarily the exact route of trails.

Clearwater County and Alberta Sustainable Development will not be building new trails, but want the Plan to direct where volunteers and groups could build or maintain trails.
The Planning Area under consideration extends around Nordegg Townsite, east to Saunders/Alexo and west to the Bighorn Indian Reserve (see Plan Area on map).  Trails within Nordegg Townsite are not the focus of this Concept Plan, but trail connections to the Town were considered. 

Public Input

Stakeholder participation has played a significant role in preparation of the Draft Trails Concept Plan.  Meetings with local trail users provided knowledge and ideas on future trail management.  Management agencies and local industries were asked to provide input to the Plan.  A public meeting was held in Nordegg during the summer of 2012 to gather feedback on the proposed Trails Concept Plan, the finalized plan was first approved by the Bighorn Backcountry Committee and then Clearwater County Council late 2012.

Plan Directions

The Concept Plan identifies the following (see Map): 
  • Non-Motorized Areas
  • Motorized and Non-motorized Areas
  • Staging Areas

Non-Motorized Areas

These are areas where all types of non-motorized trails will be supported and designated (for example-hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing).  The proposed non-motorized areas are all in close proximity to Nordegg Townsite, the highest population concentration in the Planning Area. 
Specific motorized trails may be considered to traverse non-motorized areas for access beyond the non-motorized areas

Descriptions of each non-motorized area and potential trails are as follows:

Fish Lake/Goldeye– this non-motorized area includes the lands surrounding the Fish Lake and Goldeye Lake Provincial Recreation Areas.  The rationale for designating the area as non-motorized is based on the existing regulations for the Recreation Areas that prohibit motorized activities.  In addition, this area tends to be wet and unsuited to motorized trails. 

Future non-motorized trails in the Fish Lake/Goldeye area could be developed to connect the two Recreation Areas, link to Nordegg and extend existing trails to provide several loops from the campgrounds and day use sites.

Shunda Meadows– the Meadows area is located between the Shunda Creek Road and Highway 734.  The area is a riparian and wetland zone that protects the fishery in Shunda Creek and wildlife habitat.

The existing trail system in the Meadows could be expanded to a series of loops for winter and summer use.  A motorized trail along Shunda Creek Road may be required to allow access to Baldy Mountain trails and more trails to the northwest.

Coliseum Mountain– the area includes all of the southwest side of Coliseum Mountain, plus the land immediately northwest of the Coliseum Staging Area.  The existing Coliseum Trail is already designated non-motorized.
Non-motorized designation of the larger portion of the Mountain would allow extension of the existing Coliseum Trail eastwards as far as Beaverdam Recreation Area and the Ranger Station.  In addition, a loop trail system for walking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing could be built from the existing Coliseum Staging Area, immediately adjacent to the Nordegg North Subdivision.

Beaverdam Valley-This area includes the creek valley south of Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area up to the top of the Eagle Ridge. The Valley provides access to a climbing area and an existing mountain bike trail runs down from Eagle Mountain. 
Designation as a non-motorized area would allow extension of the trails from Coliseum Mountain, across Highway 11 and up onto Eagle Mountain.

Ranger Station to Rail Trail Connector Trail-This is a specific trail to re-open a non-motorized trail that was lost when a bridge over Shunda Creek was destroyed by flooding. 

Eagle Ridge-the opportunity exists to designate a non-motorized trail along Eagle Ridge south to the North Saskatchewan River.  The route is proposed as a non-motorized trail as it is above tree line on exposed rock that is unsuitable for motorized trails.

Motorized and Non-Motorized Areas

The remainder of the Planning Area is proposed to be available for both motorized and non-motorized trails.  Trails within this area could be designated for specific types of use or as multi-use trails.
The following provides more information on each area proposed for both motorized and non-motorized trails.

Baldy Mountain- The area around Baldy Mountain is proposed to be a multi-use trail area.  The existing trail to the top of Baldy Mountain is a popular route for many trail users.  Existing resource roads and seismic lines around Baldy Mountain are also popular routes and could form the basis of a designated trail system. 
The opportunity exists to build a loop trail north of Baldy and Coliseum Mountains, connecting to the Rail Trail at Beaverdam Provincial Recreation Area, as well as a connecting to a trail back to Nordegg on the north side of Highway 11.

Brazeau Ridge- This area includes the lands south of Nordegg, up onto the Brazeau Ridge and Eagle Mountain as far south as the North Saskatchewan River. 
Past coal mining and resource activities have left an extensive network of roads and linear clearings within this area that are already very popular with trail users.  The opportunity exists to designate and maintain many of these corridors for trails.  In addition, the location is immediately adjacent to the Rocky to Nordegg Rail Trail that will provide improved access to the area.

Haven Creek- Located north of Goldeye Lake and largely west of Highway 734, this area is too wet for summer trails, but is well suited to snowmobiling. 
The area is already popular with snowmobilers as it is less prone to snow melt than areas closer to Nordegg.  A series of existing resource roads and seismic lines could be connected to provide an extensive series of winter trails.

Stolberg- This area is a large triangle of land south of the Stolberg Gas Plant, between the North Saskatchewan River and Shunda Creek.
The Stolberg area has an existing network of resource roads that could provide a starting point for a series of designated and managed trails.  The Rocky to Nordegg Rail Trail may be routed through the area, increasing access and trail activity in this area.

Nordegg to Bighorn Dam Connector Trail- This route is located west of Highway 734, along the North Saskatchewan River Valley. 
Development of a new staging area is planned along Highway 734 near the Nordegg Industrial Subdivision.  The staging area will provide access to the west end of the Rocky to Nordegg Rail Trail.  

Demand for a multi-use trail can be anticipated from the new Staging Area to connect west towards the popular trails near the Bighorn Dam.  An historic wagon trail is located within this area that may provide a route for a multi-use trail.

Saunders/Alexo to Baldy Mountain Connector Trail- The lands north of Highway 11 between Saunders/Alexo and Baldy Mountain are proposed as a multi-use trail area. 
Saunders/Alexo is a favourite camping area and starting point for many trail users, especially motorized use.  The Rocky to Nordegg Rail Trail runs through Saunders/Alexo and the area is identified as a Development Node. 

Demand for new trails to connect Saunders/Alexo to Baldy Mountain is anticipated.

Staging Areas

Coliseum Mountain Staging Area is the only existing staging area in the Planning Area.  In order to provide formal starting points and parking to support existing and future trails, several new staging areas are proposed. 
Services at each staging area could include parking, an information kiosk and perhaps a toilet. 

Rail Trail Staging Area- Construction of a new staging south along Highway 734 near the Industrial Subdivision will start in 2012.  The new site will provide access to the Rocky to Nordegg Rail Trail.  In addition, the staging area will provide access onto trails on Brazeau Ridge and could provide a starting point for a future connecting trail westwards towards Bighorn Dam.
 The Rail Trail Staging Area could also be utilized to provide access into the proposed Fish Lakes Non-Motorized Area.

Baldy Mountain Staging Area(s)- At present there is no official staging area to access the trails around Baldy Mountain.  Two potential sites could be considered.
The first site is located along the Baldy Mountain access road in the vicinity of the existing burn pit.  A second possibility is along Highway 734 near the Trout Ponds.  Either or both of these locations have merit. 

East Coliseum Staging Area- Located at the existing Ranger Station, this staging area could provide access to the non-motorized trails proposed for Coliseum Mountain.  Designating the site as a formal staging area would take advantage of the existing parking lot and toilet.   The addition of highway signs, a new trail information kiosk and a connector trail around the Ranger Station would be relatively inexpensive.

Stolberg Staging Area- Development of a staging area along Highway 11 near Stolberg would coincide with management of a trail system south of Highway 11.  A decision to construct the Rail Trail connector between Beaverdam and Harlech Provincial Recreation Areas south of Highway 11 may also be the trigger to develop a new staging area near Stolberg.