Alberta has 69 rural municipalities stretching from the American border to the Northwest Territories. RMA member municipalities cover 85% of Alberta’s land mass. Though our members are diverse in many ways, rural municipalities are best characterized by their large geographic area, low population density, and high levels of industrial development in areas such as oil and gas, agriculture, forestry, and renewable energy. When you think of Alberta’s scenic and open spaces, you’re mostly likely thinking about somewhere in a rural municipality.
Rural municipalities are essential to the vibrancy of rural Alberta and the province as a whole. Rural municipalities manage approximately 75% of Alberta’s roads and 60% of Alberta’s bridges, many of which are the first steps in the supply chain that bring the province’s natural resources to national and international markets. Alberta’s rural municipalities play a role in supporting the province that is unmatched by municipalities anywhere else in Canada. This responsibility and the innovation that makes it happen is what makes RMA members uniquely rural.
Too often, the true story of what goes on in rural Alberta is distorted or even lost amidst the big numbers of busy cities, leading to unfair or even completely incorrect comparisons and a lack of understanding of what rural municipalities do. RMA staff recently visited member municipalities across the province to learn about what makes rural Alberta unique. These are their stories.