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In 2003, the Alberta government clarified the rules for recreational access on agricultural dispositions issued under the Public Lands Act, including grazing leases and farm development leases. The Recreational Access Regulations consider both the need of the leaseholders to protect the land and livestock from harm, and the desire of the recreational users for reasonable access. The legislation also includes a process for addressing access disputes. The rules encourage communication, co-operation and respect.
When requesting access to Crown land from agricultural leaseholders, the standard conditions all recreational users must follow to respect leaseholders’ stewardship efforts include:
- parking vehicles clear of driveways and access routes
- obtaining consent to light fires
- leaving gates the way they were found
- packing out all litter
- avoiding damage to land and property
To review the legislation, including the related Act and associated regulations, see Public Lands Act.
Failing to follow regulations can be costly, with penalties for recreational users ranging up to $500.
Leaseholders must allow recreational access, but can restrict or deny this access if:
- livestock are present in the field
- a crop has not yet been harvested
- the recreational user wishes to discharge a firearm or use explosives near livestock
- a hunter is wanting to hunt unreasonably close to a fenced pasture with livestock present
- the recreational user is 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
For further information as a recreational user, see Recreational user responsibilities for access to agricultural Crown land.
For further information as an agricultural leaseholder, see Leaseholder Responsibilities for Recreational Access.
It is a recreational user’s responsibility to find out if contact is required, and what the conditions of access are before arriving at agricultural Crown land. Both parties must work together to come to an agreement that follows the Recreational Access Regulations. Contact your local agrologist if an agreement can not be met as they will facilitate an informal discussion around access. If a conclusion is not reached through this discussion, a formal process can be accessed. Learn more by visiting Recreation on agricultural public land – Dispute resolution process.
If you have questions about getting access to agricultural Crown land for recreation activities, contact the Alberta Environment and Parks Information Centre.