The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is a specialized municipality located in the Crowsnest Pass of the Rocky Mountains in southwest Alberta, Canada. The municipality formed as a result of the amalgamation of five municipalities (the Village of Bellevue; the Town of Blairmore; Town of Coleman; the Village of Frank and Improvement District No. 5, which included the Hamlet of Hillcrest) on January 1, 1979. Today, Blairmore and Coleman remain the two largest communities while Frank is the smallest. Crowsnest, Passburg, and Sentinel (Sentry Siding) are other former communities (abandoned, or much reduced) within the municipality's boundaries.
The municipality owes its existence to coal mining, the area's primary industry since the first mine opened in 1900. Its ethnic and cultural diversity comes from the many European and other immigrants attracted to the area by the mines. Through the years' coal mining suffered from fluctuating coal prices, bitter strikes, and underground accidents, and all the mines on the Alberta side closed throughout the 20th century as cheaper, safer open-pit mines opened on the British Columbia side of the pass. There is an operating coal mine just across the BC border in Sparwood, which continues to provide significant employment for the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass.
Crowsnest Pass is known for tragedy. In 1903, the tip of Turtle Mountain broke loose and decimated part of the Village of Frank (the Frank Slide). In 1914, the Hillcrest mine disaster occurred in the Hillcrest Mine, killing 189 men. Serious spring floods occurred in 1923 and 1942. Periodic forest fires have swept the valley, including one in the summer of 2003 that threatened the entire municipality.
The area was a centre for "rum-running" during prohibition, from 1916 to 1923, when liquor was illegally brought across the provincial border from British Columbia. The legacy is celebrated at the restored Alberta Provincial Police Barracks, now an interpretive centre.