Recreation on agricultural public land – User responsibilities

Recreational users who want to access agricultural public land have a responsibility to follow the Recreational Access Regulation.

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Recreation on agricultural public land

Contact information and access conditions for agricultural dispositions in Alberta are now available on the new Recreation access on agricultural public lands web map.

Can’t find what you’re looking for on the new map? Let us know so that we can assist you.

Overview

Recreational access to agricultural public land is managed under the Recreational Access Regulation, which clarifies the rules for recreational access on public lands leased for grazing or cultivation.

Under the Recreational Access Regulation, leaseholders are required to allow reasonable recreational access to the land as long as the activity does not put the land, crops or livestock at risk. A leaseholder can limit access under certain conditions.

Learn more about leaseholder responsibilities for recreational access.

Recreational user responsibilities

Recreational users are responsible for following the Recreational Access Regulation before and while accessing agricultural public land.

Before you travel on agricultural public land, you must:

  • Step 1: Determine if the land you want to visit is public or privately-owned

    Find leaseholder contact information and access conditions for agricultural dispositions in Alberta on the Recreation access on agricultural public lands web map.

    If you are accessing private land, the landowner can deny access for any reason.

    If you are visiting agricultural public land, the Recreational Access Regulation applies.

  • Step 2: Contact the leaseholder before accessing the lease

    You should plan your trip well in advance, and expect that it could take a few days to receive a response from the leaseholder regarding access to the lease. A response should be received from the leaseholder within a week of initial contact. Please also check the recreational access internet mapping tool to see if there are details regarding summer-time draw dates for fall season access.

    Proper contact allows the leaseholder to:

    • limit access to portions or the whole lease as per the Recreational Access Regulation
    • provide additional information about the land, such as sensitive areas, hazards or livestock that you need to avoid

    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

    Keep a record of your contact calls to demonstrate that proper procedure has been followed to discuss access with the leaseholder.

    If the recreational user does not contact the leaseholder first or comply with the conditions of use, this is a contravention of the Recreational Access Regulation, and a violation ticket of up to $500 can be issued to the recreational user.

    Not all agricultural dispositions need contact prior to access

    Grazing licences, as opposed to grazing leases, are shorter term tenure commonly found in forested areas. Head tax permits, grazing permits, hay permits, and cultivation permits are dispositions issued annually.

    These dispositions require that basic conditions must be followed by recreational users – but contact is not required. Some licences and permits have specific conditions placed on them by a local settlement officer for management reasons. The basic conditions and local settlement officer conditions are available through the Recreation access on agricultural public land web map.

  • Step 3: Alternate contact (if necessary)

    Recreational users cannot access a grazing lease without proper contact with a leaseholder. If a recreational user has tried several times and is unable to have a conversation with the leaseholder, the user may reach out to the local agrologist at Land Management – Contacts.

  • Step 4: Dispute resolution (if necessary)

    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 help to resolve the majority of issues. If an informal resolution cannot be reached, a formal dispute resolution process is available to both parties through a local settlement officer.

    When accessing the lease, recreational users must:

    • 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, left closed if it was found closed)
    • not cause any damage to the lease land or the property of the agricultural leaseholder
    • follow the current regulations and all of the rules under the Wildlife Act if they are hunting or fishing

    Recreational users who contravene the Recreational Access Regulation can receive a ticket for up to $500.

Contact

If you have questions about getting access to agricultural public land for recreation activities, contact 310-LAND (5263).