Nestled in the wilderness of David Thompson Country is Aurum Lodge an eco-friendly lodge that allows you to enjoy the beauty of the area while having as little negative impact on the environment as possible. We sat down with our friends at Aurum lodge to discuss what guests can experience during their stay, and why it’s important to preserve the land.
1. What is unique about staying at Aurum Lodge?
After 18 years of operation, Aurum Lodge continues to be one of Alberta’s most recognized eco-tourism lodges, which was planned, built and is operated with minimal environmental impact. Guests can experience nature at their doorstep, as well as what it entails to live in a sustainable development (energy efficient, low resource use, healthy indoor environment). Most visitors are surprised that living/operating sustainably does NOT translate into a loss of comfort.
2. What can I expect during my stay?
Guests enjoy our bright, clean, comfortable rooms with great views, interaction with other guests, tranquillity and seclusion, a closeness to nature and lack of development in the area. Guests can also expect plenty of fresh air, amazing scenery and the ability to reconnect with our natural environment.
3. What inspired Aurum Lodge?
Nature tourism projects worldwide have always had the propensity to destroy the natural surroundings and ecology of an area with excessive or unsuitable development. By setting up a tourism operation in a sensitive natural area that had seen minimal development, we wanted to reduce our impact on our surroundings as much as possible and, hopefully, set an example for future responsible tourism development in the region.
4. What are some of the most popular activities I can try during my stay?
Hiking is the number one activity for our guests, both in the vicinity and adjacent National Parks, summer or winter. In the summer, cycling, canoeing or kayaking, climbing, and mountaineering are popular for the experienced who have the necessary equipment. Guided summer activities include tours of the historic Brazeau Colliery in Nordegg, Trail riding at McKenzie’s stables nearby and the naturalist led walking tours on Athabasca Glacier.
In winter, winter hiking, snowshoeing and ice-climbing as well as exploring the ice around Abraham Lake are some known favourites.
A few of the sights around the lodge, courtesy of Aurum Lodge’s Facebook page
5. How do you work to make eco-tourism possible?
By changing engrained habits and doing things differently, focusing on comfort and essentials rather than luxury and excess amenities and by putting sustainability criteria before bottom line considerations. Cost and workload are higher compared to a comparable facility using normal practices, however, there are long term savings (especially for energy) and many intangible benefits which justify the extra effort/costs.
6. Am I able to stay during all seasons?
Aurum Lodge is an all-season resort and we are open throughout the year, as there is always something to see and do. However, we do require reservations in advance and have minimum stay requirements.
7. What are some popular attractions around the area?
Like activities, attractions in the area are mostly natural and nature-based with a sprinkling of indigenous cultural/spiritual sites and early European settlement (pioneer cabin, Brazeau Colliery). Mountains, forests, grasslands, rivers, lakes, canyons and waterfalls beg to be explored everywhere on a variety of hiking trails. In winter, the methane bubbles on Abraham Lake draw visitors from all over the world.
8. Is there anything I should know before booking my trip?
- Aurum Lodge is a more adult oriented facility as we try to provide a quiet, relaxed atmosphere for our guests
- We offer two different products: rooms in the lodge, which come with partial meal service OR self-contained vacation rentals with kitchen for guests wishing to prepare their own meals (one of the latter is suitable for families of up to five persons)
- We welcome dogs in our self-contained units, but not in the lodge
- Communications are limited: no TV, phones in rooms; no cell-phone coverage; limited internet accessibility
- Motorized recreational activities are not permitted on public lands surrounding the lodge
- Safety: We are in the mountains, in an undeveloped area! Mountain weather, road and trail conditions vary greatly and can change very quickly. Being properly equipped/prepared is crucial
9. What is the most rewarding part of operating with minimal environmental impact?
The knowledge that you are making a difference in reducing resource waste, pollution and negative impacts on your surroundings and the local ecology. We cannot change the world or what everyone else does. However, we can easily change our own ways and habits to reduce our ecological footprint on the planet.
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