Midland Provincial Park is located in Alberta’s Badlands and was established in 1979 to help conserve some of Alberta’s coal mining history. The park was once the site of the Midland Coal Mine and the land was donated to the province after the mine closed. The park is home to one of my favorite museums, the Royal Tyrrell, and adjoins the Red Deer River.
Today’s post focuses on exploring the Midland Coal Interpretive Trail located roughly midway between the city of Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum. This trail has a series of educational interpretive signs providing information about coal-mining in the area and to help you understand the artifacts on the grounds, A former mining office survives.
A rich seam of coal permeates the area and coal was king of this region for the first half of the 20th century, with some 137 coal mining operations flourishing in the Red Deer River Valley. A large mine was located on the grounds of the park, although it has been closed for some time and and is largely dismantled. There are scattered remnants and foundations of old structures at the site, and the rugged beauty of the Badlands surrounds you.
One of the more striking grouping of artefacts along the trail are gigantic orange coal cutters (see top photo) that have blades which resemble a chain saw’s.
A few weathered coal mine cars are also on display. I thought these would look good in my yard, but left them alone.
There’s a large collection of the signage from the trail found in the thumbnails below. For example, it discusses the lamphouse (where miners got their charged headlamps), the mine shaft, coal bins, and much more. The interested reader is invited to click on the thumbnails and read the details if interested.
The coal trail is an interesting and easy add-on to any visit to Drumheller region. I think it would be especially fun for families to experience.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance slideshow)