Albertans love the great outdoors and cherish their opportunities to camp, enjoy off-road activities and take every advantage of all that Alberta has to offer.
Recently there have been rumours that a random camping ban and restrictions on the use of off-road vehicles will be initiated on Alberta’s public lands under the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (SSRP).
The confusion on this seems to stem from a report on the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development website. A document on the website named “Advice to the Government of Alberta for the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan” has apparently been interpreted as the draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan.
The report from the South Saskatchewan Regional Advisory Council was developed as a reference guide prior to public and stakeholder consultations on the SSRP. It does not represent current or proposed policy of the government and was simply intended as a guide to frame discussions.
I want you to know that Alberta’s outdoors remain open to random camping. There have been no changes to rules about where, or when, Albertans can enjoy the experience of camping on public land. You should know that planning is underway for development of a permit for stays of longer than 14 days and that permit will be free of charge.
I want to emphasize that there is still plenty of time for public and stakeholder input into the plan and officials from the department are more than willing to meet with anyone who has concerns, and we extend an invitation to sit down with groups representing random campers and off-road vehicle users to discuss their concerns.
A draft of the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan is expected in the fall of 2013 and again we will seek input and discussion from the public and stakeholders, and we very much look forward to hearing from you. In the meantime, enjoy your summer.
– Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development