Public Land Use Zone regulations

Know and follow the rules for the Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ) you are visiting.

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Public Lands Camping Pass required

A Public Lands Camping Pass is required to random camp on public land along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.


Regulations are in place for all recreational activities within a Public Land Use Zone (PLUZ) to protect users and ensure sustainable long-term use of the land. Recreation within a PLUZ is managed under the Public Lands Act and the Public Land Administration Regulation. It is the user’s responsibility to know and follow specific regulations for the PLUZ you are visiting and any recreational activities. Maps of the area provide information on designated trails, permitted activities and regulations for the PLUZ. Learn more at Public Land Use Zones.

  • Recreation regulations – General

    • Follow all posted signs, notices, publications and direction from an Enforcement Officer.
    • Pack out what you pack in. Take all garbage and waste with you for proper disposal at home or at a dump station.
    • Pets are allowed in a PLUZ. Pick up after pets and do not allow them to chase wildlife or other people.
    • Camping is permitted. Follow the rules for camping and campfires on public land.
      • A Public Lands Camping Pass is required to camp on public land along the Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
      • There is a maximum stay of 14 days in the same spot. After 14 days, you must move a distance of at least 1 km for 72 hours.
      • Camping equipment/facilities must be portable and temporary.
      • Camping and open fires are not permitted within 1km of a public land recreation area or a provincial recreation area located within a PLUZ.
      • Camping and fires are not permitted within 1km of a road within Kananaskis PLUZ, McLean Creek Off-Highway Vehicle PLUZ, Sibbald Snow Vehicle PLUZ and Cataract Creek Snow Vehicle PLUZ.
    • Responsible campfires are permitted for cooking or warming purposes.
      • Some PLUZs allow fires in designated camping areas only and/or have other restrictions. Please refer to the specific information provided for the PLUZ you will be visiting.
      • Fires are not permitted when firebans are in effect. Check the Alberta Fire Bans website for current alerts and advisories.
      • If available, use existing campfire facilities, portable camping stoves, or fire pits.
      • Never leave campfire unattended and extinguish your fire until the ashes are cool to the touch. Remember to soak it, stir it, and soak it again.
      • Motorized recreation is permitted in some, but not all PLUZ. Follow the rules for motorized recreation and snowmobiling on public land.
      • Keep wheels out of the water. Motorized users are not allowed on the bed and shore of waterbodies and wetlands, unless using a designated trail or crossing.
      • Highway vehicles are not permitted to leave the road other than to use trails designated for an off-highway vehicles (OHV) of a particular size or type.
    • Most non-motorized activities are permitted in PLUZs.
      • Follow the rules for non-motorized recreation on public land.
      • Equestrian and horse use is allowed, but grazing and tethering of horses is not allowed within 100 metres of lakes and streams in some PLUZ. This requirement prevents water contamination of erosion of shorelines.
      • Equestrian users are encouraged to high-line their horses to prevent damage to roots.
      • In certain areas of PLUZs, horse users are required to provide their own feed. Providing supplemental feed for horses prevents overgrazing and ensures adequate forage for wildlife. In addition, using weed-free feed helps to prevent the spread of noxious weeds.
    • Hunting and sportfishing is permitted. All hunting and sportfishing regulations apply. Hunters are responsible for knowing where boundaries of Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) and PLUZs overlap and all – and portions of – WMUs may have vehicle access restrictions.
    • Leave all plants, fossils, rocks and artifacts where you found them.
    • Respect wildlife, and never approach or feed them.
    • Do not dump harmful materials such as sediment, pollution, gray water or sewage into any water or onto ice.
  • Designated trail rules

    Designated trails in PLUZs have associated rules to keep trail users safe and to create positive experiences for all users. Trail designations may allow a single type of use or multiple uses. Designated motorized trails will indicate the types and maximum width of vehicles permitted.

    Many of the designated trails in public land use zones are now provincial trails designated under the Trails Act.

    Provincial trails have rules to improve the safety of trail users and prevent loss or damage to public land.

    • Only participate in allowed activities.
    • Motorized users must stay on the trail tread (the travel surface of the trail).
    • Keep pets under control. Some provincial trails may prohibit pets or have leash requirements.
    • Do not leave any vehicles, motorized or human powered (including bicycles, motor vehicles, camping units, etc.) unattended on the tread of a provincial trail.
    • Do not discharge a firearm (recreational target shooting) within 400 m of a provincial trail, unless hunting as defined under the Wildlife Act.

    Learn more: Public land recreation areas and trails

  • Motorized Vehicle Regulations

    • Motorized vehicle access restrictions apply in a PLUZ for on an off highway vehicle access.
      • Restrictions may limit:
        • vehicle type and size
        • trail access
        • seasons open to vehicle use
      • No motorized vehicles are permitted to leave the road other than to use trails designated for an off-highway vehicle (OHV).
      • Trail designations indicate the maximum vehicle width accepted for the trail. Vehicles the same width or smaller than those indicated are allowed.
    • In PLUZs that have restrictions in place, there may be exceptions to permit motorized vehicle access, but only in the following circumstances:
      • Restrictions do not apply to vehicles involved in government resource management activities or vehicles used to transport sick, injured or deceased persons. Such motorized vehicles may be used in restricted areas.
      • Some motorized vehicles used by trappers are allowed within the limits of registered trapping areas. A permit is required and timing restrictions apply.
      • Ministerial approval may be given for motorized vehicle use for special research in a zone.
      • Motorized vehicles used for industrial activity are allowed by permit if a disposition has been approved for that activity by the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas. 
  • Developing and managing trails and sites

    The Trails Act marks a new approach to managing trails on Alberta’s public lands to ensure sustainable use and enjoyment for all users.

    The act provides guidance and structure for trail use in our province’s growing recreation and tourism sector, allowing for better trail experiences for Albertans by ensuring high quality, well managed and safe designated trails. For full details, see Sustainable trail management.

    The Alberta government strongly values the assistance of volunteers and user groups that promote responsible recreation and who develop, maintain and rehabilitate recreation trails and sites on public lands.

    Trail development requirements

    The development (example: mountain bike technical trail features), maintenance or rehabilitation of recreation resources on public land requires prior approval by Environment and Protected Areas (EPA).

    Failure to contact EPA before commencing the work is in contravention of the Public Lands Act and could lead to enforcement actions.

    Recreation structures on public land

    Structures and improvements to land within a Public Land Use Zone must be approved by EPA. Failure to obtain departmental approval can result in enforcement actions.

  • Education and enforcement

    Provincial staff attend major community and recreation events to build understanding and awareness of PLUZ regulations and to encourage responsible recreation.

    Conservation officers and Recreation Engage Officers patrol to monitor compliance with PLUZ rules and regulations and to provide information to users about responsible recreation.

    Conservation officers partner with RCMP, enforcement officers, sheriffs and municipal enforcement officers to ensure public safety and responsible recreation throughout the province. During peak periods, such as the May and September long weekends, additional resources are brought in through collaborative efforts with other departments and the RCMP.

    Non-compliance with the regulations of the PLUZ you are visiting may result in prosecution. Familiarize yourself with provincial legislation and learn more about enforcement on public land.


Report illegal activity – call 310-LAND (5263). Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to report public safety incidents, illegal activity and enforcement concerns on public land and in provincial parks.

Connect with us if you wish to develop, take over the maintenance, or reclaim any recreation infrastructure or impacted areas on public land: