The County of Grande Prairie - Where Work Meets Play
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Big country, big skies, big rivers, and big dinosaur bone beds. Up here, escape into lush landscapes, shimmering lakes and raging rivers. There are campgrounds, accommodations and lots of restaurants to fuel your entire day while you #ExploreNWAB.
County of Grande Prairie, AB - Just beyond the northern hub of Grande Prairie, the vibrant County of Grande Praire offers a surprising amount of adventure and possibility, as Danielle Roscher and Jolaina Hahn know only too well. From hiking trails to disc golf, to epic nature spots and farm-fresh goodness, the pair of friends are experts at squeezing the most out of a day here.
For Roscher, who runs a local fitness training business, this is where she draws inspiration for her ventures (Jolaina is her regular partner in adventure). Some of Roscher's best thinking is done on the local trails, and there's no beating the authentic networking that happens when you're "in the field." For her, and others like her, the County is fertile ground for building and growing a business, and finding new opportunities. And when the business meetings are over, you've got a great backyard to play in.
Routines are great but there is something revitalizing about trying something new, getting out of your comfort zone, and that’s something the women both believe in wholeheartedly.
“Both of us are always up for new adventures and trying new things,” Hahn says. That’s actually how the friends first met and hit it off, she explains, “Dee (Danielle) was looking for volunteers to practice consulting for her personal fitness training, and I was the first to respond.”
They’ve been friends since, and a continuous theme of that friendship is pushing each other into new experiences. Today, they’re trying disc golf for the first time.
Located in the County of Grande Prairie, just five minutes drive from the hiking trails, Evergreen Park disc golf isn’t the manicured, urban park experience you might expect elsewhere. It’s thoroughly nestled in the forest, with natural obstructions like trees, shrubs and hills making for a challenging outing. Hahn and Roscher laugh and tease each other good-naturedly over their wild throws and near misses.
With a couple good hours of trail time in, they’re on to another new experience. The Philip J. Currie Museum is an icon of the County of Grande Prairie, celebrating and showcasing the area’s rich dinosaur deposits and providing eons of paleontologic context to nature exploration here.
Large casts of major finds from Alberta’s unique Wapiti Formation tower in the main gallery, while in the nearby lab paleontologists continue the work of uncovering more of the region’s rich Cretaceous record (say that five times fast!). Here’s a fun fact, Dan Aykroyd is not only a ghostbuster but a real lover of paleontology. So much so, he helped raise funds to build the museum.
All that fun and new experiences can build a dino-sized appetite. Fortunately, the museum houses its own restaurant, Cafe on 43, where we stop to fuel up before continuing the afternoon.
To cap off a busy day, the women head to Broken Tine Orchard to wind down. It's a bit of a drive out into the country, but it gives time for the active pair to process the day, and strategize about new ventures. The orchard's owners, Kreg and Leanne Alde, are the consummate hosts, creating a feeling of natural county hospitality.
As we pick berries in the orchard and sip haskap wine cocktails on the porch, the dusty golden prairie light softens to a fine vintage, and there's a sense of satisfaction having gleaned the most from a day in the County.
WHEN YOU GO
- Book a tour and tasting at Broken Tine Orchard for the full orchard experience.
- Check out the Philip J. Currie Museum for some deep history. For a quick bite while exploring the County, make sure to stop at Cafe on 43 (in the museum).
- Evergreen Park offers everything from camping and outdoor rec to sunset drive-in movies, check the website for dates.