A view of Cadomin, a hamlet 50-km south of Hinton that is growing into becoming a tourist town in its own right. | C.Way photoScott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Location is everything, so they say.

Indeed, location is what the hamlet of Cadomin has always had going for it. Once a bustling centre for the coal industry, Cadomin is now getting closer to turning itself into a tourist destination on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains.

“I’m not going to say we’re the next Canmore tomorrow. We’re an old coal mining town,” said Curtis Way, president of the Cadomin Community Society.

“We’ve really seen a significant increase of new houses in the last five or seven years. They’re buying houses that are literally 80 to 100 years old so then they’re knocking them down and putting in their new log cabins or houses. It is growing.”

One could buy an old coal mining house there for $150,000 or less, adding economics to the list of reasons why the long-slumbering spot 50 kilometres south of Hinton is now catching more and more eyes.

Though the current population is pretty steady with slightly more than 50 permanent residents, there is an uptick in the numbers of seasonal residents.

People are coming to Cadomin for recreation, and they’re coming in droves.

“It’s very high usage in the summer,” Way said.

Some of that recreation, he continued, is of the sort that one just doesn’t or even can’t enjoy in Jasper. Along with all of the hiking and snowshoeing, there are a lot of ATVs and horses on the trails. Extreme athletes and their fans can look forward to the Cadomin Ultramarathon coming in 2024.

There’s really one fundamental difference between those who come to Jasper and Cadomin for their recreation, he explained. The people that come to Cadomin are “hardy people” who don’t need to stay in hotels and be wined and dined.

“They want to have an outdoor fire. They want to go cut their own firewood and have a bonfire with their friends,” Way said.

“The people in Cadomin do their own wining and dining and invite their friends over and have barbecues and firepits and go ATV riding or go horseback riding. It’s a different kind of person; it’s a different kind of outdoor experience.

“This is a much more… realistic or much more real outdoor experience. It’s not artificial in any sense. These people cut their own hiking trails in the bush or go through the bush without a hiking trail. They don’t need trails necessarily to go on.”

Some of the largest Mountain Sheep in the world were hunted at Cadomin as well, he added. Hunting is illegal in Jasper National Park, however.

Way said that there has been a lot of interest in groups bringing larger events such as the ultramarathon or even baseball tournaments there. That has helped bolster the efforts to establish a new $4 million community hall, which Yellowhead County recently approved. The funding is almost fully in place, though a fundraising effort is expected in the next few weeks.

Assuming that, shovels should break ground in the early summer with the anticipation that the building is completed by the end of year. Once completed, it will boast nearly 600 square meters with a full kitchen and a banquet hall that seats 170 people.

With all of this activity, Way said that he hopes the county will establish more residential lots to keep the momentum up. There are some residents, however, who are reluctant to see the growth.

“All in all, we just can’t hide from moving forward, so to speak. It is what it is,” he said.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 20, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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