This report on the Carbondale River area is based on a survey carried out during the summer of 1949. The Carbondale map area lies within the foothill and mountainous district of southwestern Alberta. Its northern limit is seven miles south of the important coal-mining center of Blairmore, and about fifteen miles west of the town of Pincher Creek. The map areas adjoining are Blairmore on the north (Leach, Rose, 1920), and Beaver Mines on the east (Hage, 1940). There is a slight overlap with the latter map. Excepting for ten and one-half square miles in the northeast corner, the map area is within the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve. That part south of the Carbondale river map area lies wholly within the drainage basins of the castle and Carbondale Rivers, both of which are tributary to the Oldman river.
The northern boundary of the Carbondale River map area is 49° 30' north latitude, and the eastern boundary is 114° 15' west longitude. The area is confined on the west by the British Columbia-Alberta boundary. The southern boundary is the northern limit of the Precambrian over thrust fault block, which within the map area traces a sinuous path through the northern part of township 4 and the southern part of township 5.
Three main roads serve the area. One branches from the Crowsnest highway at Bellevue, another forks south from the same highway at Burmis post office, and a third travels west from the town of Pincher Creek. The first mentioned is for the greater part a private road. This route passes through Hillcrest, and then follows the valley of Byron creek. It passes the Adanac coal mine on its way to the top of the divide. From thence it goes down the valley of Webb creek to the Carbondale River, a descent of some 1300 feet. The road then follows up the Carbondale valley to the Burmis Lumber Company camp in section 28, township 5, and range 4, west of the fifth meridian. Here and there it gives off branches, which lead to the various lumber camps on O'Hagen and Gardiner creeks. This road is kept in good condition and is passable even under severe conditions of rain or snow. The second entry to the map area, the Burmis route, proceeds south to the Castle River, follows this river to its confluence with the Carbondale River, and at this point bifurcates. One fork follows the Carbondale to join the Hillcrest road, and the other fork continues along Castle River to the Castlemount ranger station. There it trifurcates, two branches continuing along either side of the south fork of Castle river and the other following the west branch of the river. The road from Burmis is usually rough but was passable at all times. The third road, which approaches by way of the town of Pincher Creek, follows along Beaver Mines creek to about three miles southwest of Beaver Mines post office. At this point, just off the map area, the road bifurcates, the north branch passing over a low divide to join the Burmis road at the Castlemount ranger station. Many short branches of the above main roads have been built for lumbering operations, and some are still in use or are passable.
Pack trails, in the northern part of the area, follow along the main creeks, and are the only means of access. These are trails along Lynx creek and its branches, along Lost creek, and along Carbondale River. The last one commences at the termination of the road to the Burmis Lumber Company camp, continues west along Carbondale river to its headwaters, then goes over North Kootenay pass into the Flathead valley of British Columbia. These pack trails have not been kept in repair, it being necessary on all of them to cut out windfall and to detour many of the slide outs and marshes that had been corduroyed years before.
A pack train was used for part of the season, during which time approximately one-third of the area was covered. In surveying the remainder, transportation by automobile was possible.
Clow, W.H.A. and Crockford, M.B.B. (1951): Geology of Carbondale River area, Alberta; Research Council of Alberta, RCA/AGS Report 59, 74 p.