Southwest Alberta enjoys a very diverse social, cultural, and economic community.  

The Piikani, part of the Blackfoot Nation, have occupied this land for thousands of years – the archaeological record tells the story of millennia of sustained occupation.  While Brocket is the main First Nations community, many Piikani live off reserve, in the Town and MD of Pincher Creek and surrounding communities.

Ranchers settled the area at the end of the 1800s, following the establishment of the North West Mounted Police horse ranch in Pincher Creek; ranching continues to be an important part of the local economy and culture.  The Town of Pincher Creek has served as a service hub for the surrounding ranchlands for many years.  

Pincher Creek: Photo © James Van Leeuwen

Other important centres include the Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Cardston, Claresholm, and Nanton.  Smaller communities include Lundbreck, Cowley, Twin Butte, Maycroft, Granum, Mountain View, and Waterton. 

There is a diverse range of local businesses and, increasingly, chain and big-box stores serving the area.  Light industry in the region has expanded from agricultural service to oil and gas, forestry, mining and processing, wind energy, recreation, and tourism.

More information about some key community sectors can be found by following the links below.