Alberta Parks Home

Land-use Administration

Land-use Activities


A disposition is a permit, licence or lease that grants permission, identifies the location, and sets the conditions (rules and standards) and fees for an activity or development. 

Dispositions help to

A disposition for an activity in a park will likely have different conditions and fees than for the same activity outside a park. This is because parks have different conservation and recreation priorities in order to provide long-term benefits from natural values.  

Standard and site-specific conditions allow an activity to occur while minimizing impact on a park's conservation and recreation values. To reflect the cost of doing business on valuable park landfees for park dispositions are higher than dispositions on vacant public land

All dispositions for park land are approved through Alberta Environment & Parks. To apply for a disposition for an activity in a park, contact Parks Division staff.

Managing Uses on the Land

The majority of the land base in the current parks system was established during the  Special Places initiative from 1995 to 2001. Designating a significant amount of land as new parks was challenging due to many existing land uses. There was risk in leaving land unprotected while waiting for a site to be designated as a park. The Government of Alberta recognized that, by continuing to honour and carefully manage existing commitments, parks could be established for their long-term conservation values and enriching recreational experiences. By adopting this strategy, Alberta was able to quickly expand the parks system to protect the province's natural heritage. 

Management of Alberta's parks involves managing public recreation, land use activities and related facilities while conserving landscapes and species. Many land use activities and commitments were present before parks were created.  

There may be tourism and recreation facilities such as campgrounds, hostels, cottages, fishing lodges or recreational club facilities. Commercial tourism and recreation activities include guiding and outfitting, filming and photography.  There may also be educational, skill-building or life-enriching programs such as winter survival classes and youth camps. 

Parks legislation outlines which activities are permitted or prohibited in parks. Camping permits are used to manage camping in Alberta's parks. Day use activities like hiking, biking and picnicking don't require special permission. Other activities (for example special events, guided commercial trips, industrial activity fulfilling existing commitments, research) require a disposition or contract from Alberta Environment & Parks.

Parks may host special events like sporting competitions, festivals, weddings and retreats. 

The landscapes protected by parks are good locations for scientific research & collection related to flora and fauna, archeology and paleontology, and the social and economic aspects of park use. 

Hunting, fishing and trapping provide recreational and traditional use, in addition to playing a role in wildlife management. Agricultural activities such as grazing and haying help maintain native prairie and grasslands where fire or buffalo may historically have been an influence. 

There may also be some industrial activity due to pre-existing commitments when a park was designated.  

Updated: Jun 18, 2018