Elkford: Wild and shrewd

Employment opportunities and exceptional amenities add to the appeal of Elkford, B.C., a town at the end of the road

Elkford, B.C., is situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains

The views from Elkford, B.C., epitomize "Rocky Mountain grandeur." — Photo courtesy District of Elkford

In 2006 the coal-mining community of Elkford, B.C., changed its brand from “Wilderness capital of B.C.” to “Wild at heart.” According to Curtis Helgesen, chief administrative officer for Elkford, the new brand better represents the community.

“The goal of developing a strong brand is to market the town for tourism and economic development, attracting new businesses and new residents,” Helgesen said. “Beyond the Lower Mainland, almost any community can call itself the wilderness capital of B.C. The new brand speaks to this specific community and the area.”

Curtis Helgesen, chief administrative officer for Elkford, B.C., demonstrates the community's brand,

Curtis Helgesen, chief administrative officer for Elkford, B.C., demonstrates the community's brand, "Wild at heart." — Photo courtesy District of Elkford Leisure Services

Helgesen said that Elkford is looking ahead at sustainability. Though it’s currently dependent on mining, the community is planning for future generations with the intention of developing lifestyle components that will attract tourists, businesses and long-term residents for a stable economy independent of the coal supply.

“If it’s the need for more robust Internet service that’s deterring people, then we need to build the connectivity that allows people to set up shop anywhere,” said Helgesen. “Elkford is ideal for residents who want to live in the atmosphere of a small town but have the amenities of a middle-sized town.

“Thanks to the strong coal-mining economy, we have an indoor swimming pool, a golf course, a ski hill, a library, an arena and a curling rink. The Elkford Community Conference Centre is a magnificent building that was built as an economic driver; it can seat groups of up to 420 people and is probably the best banquet facility in the East Kootenay.”

Helgesen said that affordable housing and affordable, all-season recreation are good reasons to make Elkford home. The self-guided element of much of the wilderness recreation in the area is reflected in the theme, “Wild at heart.”

Marie Milner

Marie Milner is a writer and photographer for Kootenay Business magazine and several other publications. She appreciates the inspiration that she gets during her interviews and hopes to share that inspiration with you. View all of Marie Milner’s articles

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