Protecting and preserving Alberta’s outdoors

The Trails Act (Bill 79) updates trail management to improve trail experiences for Albertans.

Status: Bill 79 received proclamation on February 23, 2022, except section 5, which comes into effect May 2022
Ministry responsible: Environment and Parks


Bill 79: the Trails Act supports trails on public land to adapt to the growing demand of outdoor recreation for tourism and business.

The act updates the legal framework to align trails and their management with how trails are currently used, helping ensure the sustainability of our trails so that they will be enjoyed for years to come.

The legislation for trails on public land has been in place since 1979 and does not adequately cover how trails are now used. Over the past 40 years, trails have seen an increase in recreation use and the introduction of OHVs, along with a growing awareness of the need for environmental sustainability.

Bill 79: the Trails Act is a key priority of the Alberta Crown Land Vision and our common-sense conservation plan which aims to find the right balance between conservation, recreation, and economic use while respecting the needs of communities and Indigenous peoples.

Key changes

The Trails Act and associated amendments to the Public Lands Act:

  • establish a system for sustainable trail management on public land
  • allow for the designation of trails for specific uses, such as hiking or riding an OHV
  • improve trail planning to consider other land uses and values
  • provide enforcement tools to prevent environmental damage and promote stewardship of the land
  • promote a bigger role for partners in trail maintenance
  • strengthen trail protections so all Albertans can enjoy them for years to come

Next steps

Bill 79: the Trails Act is now in effect, except for the Trail Management Plan requirement which will take effect May 2022.