Trapping is an industry that is firmly rooted in Alberta’s history. The Trapper’s Cabin gives an in-depth, hands-on look at the challenging life of a trapper in Alberta.
Our cabin is built to the actual dimensions of many trapper's cabins of the time.
Trappers had to spend long, cold winters alone in a cabin of this size – you can see where the term ‘cabin fever’ comes from!
The trap on the outside of the cabin (top hook) is called a foothold, which traps larger animals.
The trap on the bottom hook is called a conibear and is an 'instant-kill' trap used on smaller animals, such as coyote and beaver.
The wide variety of pelts on display gives you an idea of how many different types of animals were trapped during this time!
In Memory of Margaret Kidner
Margaret Kidner was a very well-known trapper in the community, and without her, this exhibit would not be filled with many of these wonderful artifacts.
From a very young age, Margaret knew that she wanted to be a trapper. At five years old she even threatened not to go to school unless her parents took her on the trapline every Saturday!
At the age of 63, Margaret was said to have still walked close to six kilometers to check each of her 50 traps north of Robb!
Margaret was an advocate of progressive, humane trapping methods and encouraged trappers to continue to learn better ways to trap.
The Legend of 'Black Frank'
'Black' Frank Knezevich, nicknamed for his dark hair, was a beloved trapper that lived in the Coal Branch.
In 1953, Frank was declared missing after a friend went to check up on him and noticed that his mail had been left untouched.
After many fruitless forays, Frank was officially pronounced dead in 1962.
Almost twenty years later, a hunter came across skeletal remains near Robb. A pathologist later declared that the condition of the bones would be compatible with 15-20 years of exposure, and so the skeleton was deemed to be Black Frank.
It was assumed that Frank had suffered from a fatal heart attack, although many different stories circulated in the Coal Branch for years.
Black Frank. Photo from Exploring the Historic Coal Branch.