Table of contents

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.


Alberta’s public land offers opportunities for many different types of land uses, including agricultural, industrial, economic and recreational activities. Regulations are in place for all recreational activities on public land to protect users and ensure sustainable long-term use of the land.

Be lawful

You can camp, horseback ride, dog sled and more on vacant public land. Some common rules that apply to public land in the province include:

  • 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 soil erosion problems. In addition, fine sediments that flow into the water body or are stirred up by tires are harmful to fish.
    • If the vacant public land being accessed is the bed or shore or a lake, river, stream or watercourse, you can travel through that area. However, wheeled or tracked vehicles are not allowed in these environmentally sensitive areas unless authorized through an environmental approval.
    • It is illegal to wash your OHV (off-highway vehicle) in a waterbody.
  • If camping, limit your stay to 14 days. After 14 days, you are required to move your camp by at least 1 km for 72 hours. This 14 day limit allows vegetation the time to recover and gives other users the opportunity to access the site as well.
  • Keep your campsite clean and sanitary. Take all garbage and waste from your trip home with you to properly dispose of it.
  • Camping is not permitted within one kilometre of a provincial park or provincial recreation area.
  • Do not cause unreasonable damage or disturbance to the land.

For more information on regulations in PLUZs, see:

Enforcement on public land

Alberta’s government aims to provide opportunities for all Albertans to access public land safely and sustainably, while respecting both the environment and other recreational users. Non-compliance with public land regulations may result in prosecution.

A variety of tools are used to manage recreation on public land, including:

  • public information and education
  • partnerships with public land users and other stakeholders
  • monitoring
  • legislation, regulation and enforcement

By observing the activity around us, we can work together to ensure safe and enjoyable experiences for all users on the land.

Specified penalty tickets

One of the enforcement tools the province has is the ability to issue on-the-spot violation tickets for most public land offences. Particular offences have a specific fine amount associated with them. This specific fine is called a specified penalty.

Specified penalties may range from $115 to $575, depending on the offence. Ticketed fines include the victim fine surcharge and will be 20% higher than fines listed in the below legislation. A victim surcharge is a monetary penalty imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing. These funds are used to provide programs, services and assistance to victims of crime.

Provincial legislation

Review provincial legislation related to public land use for more detailed information on violations and associated fines:

  • Forest and Prairie Protection Act
    The Forest and Prairie Protection Act prescribes the provisions for "warming fires" on public lands.
  • Traffic Safety Act (Part 6)
    The Traffic Safety Act establishes the legislative requirements for off-highway vehicles in Alberta.
    • Off-Highway Vehicle Regulation
      The Off-Highway Vehicle Regulation (and sections of the Traffic Safety Act) prescribes the operational requirements for off-highway vehicles in Alberta.
  • Public Lands Act
    • Public Lands Administration Regulation
      The Public Lands Administration Regulation governs the public’s use of all PLUZs, Provincial Recreation Areas, Forest Recreation Areas and Public Land Recreation Trails.
    • Recreational Access Regulation
      The Recreational Access Regulation clarifies the rules for recreational and exploration access on agricultural dispositions issued under the Public Lands Act, including grazing leases and farm development leases.
  • Trails Act
    Provides guidance and structure for trail use in Alberta’s growing recreation and tourism sector. The Trails Act allows for better trail experiences for Albertans by ensuring high quality, well managed and safe designated trails. See Sustainable trail management for further details.
  • Provincial Offences Procedure Act

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