New Trail Designations – Provincial Trails

Know before you go. Learn more about the regulations for recreation on Provincial Trails before heading out.

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.

Off-Highway Vehicle Helmets is the law

As of May 15, 2017, CSA approved 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.

Overview

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

Motorized users are outdoor enthusiasts who use Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) or, where permitted, road legal vehicles for off-road travel.

OHV

Alberta Traffic Act defines an OHV as a(an):

  • amphibious craft
  • dune buggies
  • off-road motorcycles
  • quads and trikes
  • snowmobiles

Trucks, jeeps and modified 4x4 vehicles may not be considered OHVs.

Seasonal safety

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 that are designated for motorized use, and use legal watercourse crossings (bridges, fords) that appear on provincial maps.
  • 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:
  • Follow posted signs and notices.
  • Leave nothing behind – take all garbage with you.
  • Prevent start of a wildfire – keep your machine free of debris.
  • If camping, limit your stay to no more than 14 days in the same location. After 14 days, you must move a distance of at least 1km away for 72 hours.
  • Do not leave your motor vehicle or camping unit unattended for longer than 24 hours, unless it is in a designated area such as a trailhead parking lot for multi-day trips.
  • 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

Invasive species

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 before you go – Be prepared

  • Plan your route.
    • Avoid travel in waterways and along shorelines.
    • Remember that cutlines are not necessarily approved trails.
    • Steer clear of pipelines.
  • Check the weather – avoid travel on wet trails.Most trail damage occurs after rainfall and snowmelt when trails are wet and soft.
  • Check for area and trail closures at Public land closures – overview.
  • Contact the leaseholder and follow conditions for access prior to travelling on private or leased land. Call 310-LAND (5263) for assistance.

  • Check the Alberta fire bans for current alerts and advisories.

Be respectful

  • Keep wheels off 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.
  • Travel in small groups to minimize soil compaction and vegetation damage.
  • Travel on trails and park in areas with the hardest, most durable surface.
  • Minimize sharp, low-radius turns – such manoeuvres tend to remove vegetation and plough topsoil.
  • Don't spin or skid.
  • 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 may harm vulnerable grass or tree seedlings.
  • Share the area and be respectful of other users. Slow down and yield to other users. Respect wildlife from a distance.  Never feed, approach or chase wildlife.
  • Leave all gates and fences as you find them.
  • 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-LAND (5263) to report concerns.

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