Skunk Hollow was a town located west of Water Valley, Alberta near the location where Silver Creek flows into the Little Red Deer River.
The town got its start in 1904 when two coal mines opened in the area. It was a short-lived community as the mines closed in the 1920s and the people moved away. At its peak, the population was about 75, but the town had many of the features you would expect of a town in that era: general store, post office, and dance hall.
The children of Skunk Hollow were educated at Bituma School, which opened in 1914 at a site about two kilometres east of Skunk Hollow. From what I found online, Bituma School operated up until 1958. At some point when the road was upgraded the school building was moved but I do not know where nor what its fate was.
At some point after the town ceased to exist, the area was home to a campground. During the floods of 2005 the bridge used to access the campground was washed away and the campground was never reopened.
Today the area is home to the William J. Bagnall Wilderness Park and offers some light hiking, picnic tables, and opportunity for exploration. Come check it out with us:
I have only been to this area once before, back in February of 2014. We need to come back at some point when the creek is lower (or we have more appropriate footwear) so we can explore further. Perhaps we should bring the drone with us so we can see if we can spot any remnants of the mining operations from the air.
As always, thanks for following our adventures and if you have more information about Skunk Hollow please share it either in the comments here, on our Facebook page, on Twitter, or on YouTube.
You had me at mines! Did a piece for the AER on those at Skunk Hollow and they only operated sporadically over those years with limited production. That stuff is slack, bits of coal called fines that’s of no use, usually mixed in with non-coal bits. Slag is what’s left over after smelting of metallic ores.
Awesome. I figured a place like Skunk Hollow would be right in your wheelhouse. Are there any other visible remnants of the mining operations there?
Mines are my thing. There’s no mention of anything left behind in mining reports, but it was such a small operation that there was probably not much there to begin with. A field visit may be in order…
Used to camp here a lot with friends in the early 2000s. I think I recall finding one wooden entryway to an old mine, but it led nowhere/was impenetrable. if you go quite far up the creek (SW) it’s narrower and easier to cross, or at least it was back then. Beautiful place in late Spring and Summer! Thanks for a little glimpse at what it’s become now.
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