Off-Highway Vehicle Helmets is the law
As of May 15, 2017, CSA-compliant helmets must be worn by OHV users when riding on public land. Public land means Crown land, including areas that have been designated for public OHV use, public roadway and highway rights-of-way.
Motorized recreation can be an exciting and enjoyable way for outdoor enthusiasts to get around on public land. For more information on the rules and what you need to know before you head out to recreate on public land, download a copy of the new Alberta’s Guide to Outdoor Recreation on Provincial Crown Land.
These vehicles tend to be faster and larger than other means of outdoor travel and by not traveling with the environment in mind, they can cause significant lasting damage to the landscape, including:
- soil compaction, contamination and erosion
- loss of vegetation
- transfer of weeds
- water contamination
- start of a wildfire
- wildlife disruption
By traveling responsibly, we maintain access to natural areas and ensure the areas available to future generations.
For best practices in using motorized recreation vehicles Recreation on Public Land – Know before you go.
Motorized users are outdoor enthusiasts who use Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) or, where permitted, road legal vehicles for off-road travel.
Alberta Traffic Act defines an OHV as a(an):
- amphibious craft
- dune buggies
- off-road motorcycles
- quads and trikes
Trucks, jeeps and modified 4x4 vehicles may not be considered OHVs.
Be safe as well as environmentally responsible when riding your OHV this summer or winter. For more, visit:
It's the law
- Ride on approved trails only.
- Keep wheels out of streams, rivers, and lakes.
- Wheeled or tracked vehicles are not allowed on beds or shores of watercourses, wetlands or waterbodies.
- Driving in these areas produces harmful ruts and erosion problems. In addition, fine sediments stirred up by tires are harmful to fish. See:
- Take garbage with you – leave nothing behind.
- Prevent start of a wildfire – keep your machine free of debris.
- Limit your stay to 14 days.
- Be sure your OHV is compliant. The unit must:
- be registered
- be insured
- have a licence plate
- have a head-light and tail-light
- have an approved muffler
To prevent the spread of invasive species, Off-Highway vehicle users are requested to remove any vegetation or clumps of mud or debris from the vehicle and thoroughly clean the underside of vehicles, tires and parts before moving to another area.
You may only cross wetlands, creeks or rivers at bridges or lawful crossings.
Know B4 U Go!
- Plan route – avoid waterways and shorelines.
- Check weather – avoid wet trails.
- Most trail damage occurs after rainfall and snowmelt when trails are wet and soft.
- Be aware of closures.
- Public land closures.
- Do not create new trails.
- Remember that cutlines are not necessarily approved trails. Steer Clear of pipelines.
- Contact leaseholder prior to travel on leased land. Call 310-ESRD for assistance.
- Leased Land Contact Information - Mapping Tool.
- Leave all gates and fences as you find them.
- Avoid exposed alpine terrain and wet, sensitive or steep areas.
- Repeated travel in these areas creates damage that is very difficult to repair.
- Stay on established and well-defined trails even if in snow.
- Off-trail driving leads to multiple braided or "bowled-out" trails.
- Off-trail tracks in snow pushes frost deeper into the ground, contributing to vegetation damage.
- Choose routes with the hardest, most durable surface.
- Don't spin or skid.
- Travel in small groups to minimize soil compaction and vegetation damage.
- Reduce erosion – use low pressure, non-aggressive tires.
- Minimize sharp, low-radius turns – such manoeuvres tend to remove vegetation and plough topsoil.
- Respect reclamation and reforestation efforts – traffic in these areas kills vulnerable grass or tree seedlings.
- Be courteous and share the trail with other users – travel slowly and yield the trail to non-motorized traffic.
- Keep distance from wildlife. Remember: chasing wildlife is illegal.
- Don't cut or mark live trees – use only well-placed nylon (rather than steel) winch straps to avoid damage to bark.
- Wash your vehicle between uses to prevent transferring weed seeds between areas.
- Report illegitimate and illegal activity – contact 310-ESRD to report concerns.