Working with recreational users

Recreational users must contact the leaseholder prior to entering the grazing lease. This conversation also provides an opportunity to discuss important information like sensitive areas and notable hazards.

Recreational users are required to give the leaseholder the following information:

  • type of recreational activity proposed
  • time and location the activity will occur on the land
  • number of people in the group
  • contact name and method of contact
  • other related information that is requested, such as the names of all recreational users and licence plate numbers of vehicles used to transport people to the land

The recreational user must always:

  • pack out all litter
  • park vehicles so the approach to the land is clear
  • refrain from lighting fires without consent
  • leave gates in the same state in which they were found (for example, closed if found closed)
  • not cause any damage to the lease land or the property of the leaseholder, such as fences

Learn more about recreational user responsibilities for access to agricultural crown land.

Agricultural leaseholder responsibilities

Access for recreational users

Leaseholders must allow reasonable access to the land for recreation. The Recreational Access Regulation addresses what reasonable access is by giving the leaseholder the ability to deny access when:

  • their livestock are present in the field
  • their crop has not yet been harvested
  • the recreational user wishes to discharge a firearm or use explosives near livestock
  • the recreational user wishes to hunt unreasonably close to a fenced pasture with livestock present
  • the recreational users are not on foot
  • the recreational user wishes to camp
  • a fire ban is in effect
  • the proposed use is disallowed by a recreational management plan or a condition set by the government

The Department of Environment and Parks may also add conditions or restrictions on recreational use. For example, the department may work with the leaseholder to make a detailed recreational management plan. If you would like to discuss department conditions, please contact your local agrologist.

Denying access to recreational users

  • If leaseholders deny access to the recreational user, they should explain their reason as specified under the regulations. There are considerable repercussions for not following the Recreational Access Regulation as a leaseholder, as it can result in shortened tenure, compliance action or cancellation of the lease.
  • While leaseholders can deny access when livestock are on the lease, they may choose to provide access when livestock are present. It is at their discretion.
  • Only the province or municipality can decide the fire risk is too high to allow access.

Limiting the number of people who come on the land

The leaseholder can't limit the number of people who come on the land, but they can discuss the concern with the Local Settlement Officer. A recreational management plan or user limits can be put in place.

Both completed recreational management plans and limits set by a Local Settlement Officer will be included with the contact information on the Recreational Access Mapping Tool. Contact the rangeland agrologist at your local Environment and Parks Lands office. To locate a Lands Office near you, see Land Management – Contacts.

Conditional recreational access

Leaseholders may add conditions, such as specific times when they might allow motorized vehicle access or when to contact them. Alternatively, leaseholders can specify that they do not want to be contacted prior to a visit.

If leaseholders desire to place other conditions on access, department staff will review these conditions to ensure consistency with what is allowed under the legislation.

Penalties for contravening the legislation

The focus will be on providing information to leaseholders and recreational users to encourage respect and co-operation. Recreational users who contravene the legislation can receive a ticket for up to $500. Leaseholders who contravene provisions of the Recreational Access Regulation may not receive extended tenure and repeated issues could result in lease cancellation.

Recreational Access Mapping Tool

Contact information

To ensure recreational users are able to contact leaseholders before they access the land, the leaseholder must provide the department with the name of a contact person, including a telephone number or email address. It is the leaseholder’s responsibility to provide up to date contact information, if they do not, the department will apply a “No contact required” condition.

The department will place this information on the Recreational Access Mapping Tool.

To change contact information, the leaseholder can call the Rangeland Policy Branch at 780-427-3595.

Blank forms are also available at local Lands offices.

Protection of privacy

Leaseholders can choose not to put their contact information on the website.

However, providing the information has important benefits to leaseholders. Doing so helps ensure the leaseholder is contacted before a recreational user comes on the land.

Contact hours

Leaseholders can specify times, for example evenings only, as long as recreational users have a reasonable chance to reach the leaseholder.

Response times

Recreational users should plan a trip well in advance and expect that it could take a few days for the leaseholder to respond to the inquiry. However, recreational users should hear something within a week of their first call.

Leaseholder's liability

If the recreational user becomes injured while on the lease, the leaseholder’s liability is reduced unless the courts find the leaseholder intentionally or negligently tried to insure the user. Recreational users are responsible for their own personal safety.

As a courtesy, the leaseholder should identify anything unusual that may have done to the lease. For example, the leaseholder may want to notify users of any non-standard fences that may be on the property.

It is generally recommended that agricultural producers carry liability insurance whether it is private or Crown land.

In case of disagreement

We encourage both leaseholders and recreational users to show respect for each other and the land. If there is a disagreement between the leaseholder and the recreational user, either party may contact the rangeland agrologist at the local Lands office.

The agrologist will then discuss the concern with both the leaseholder and the recreational user to find a solution. Often this type of communication and/or mediation can resolve any issues. If an informal resolution cannot be reached, a formal dispute resolution process is available to both parties through a local settlement officer. To find your local agrologist, see Land Management – Contacts.

Contact

If you have questions about getting access to agricultural Crown land for recreation activities, contact the Alberta Environment and Parks Information Centre.