AFGA addresses this growing concern for a number of its members
Amid “more and more complaints” from Alberta resident hunters about being denied access to leased Crown land, the Alberta Fish and Game Association is looking to the provincial government for answers, promises the AFGA’s chief executive officer, Kelly Carter. “This is a growing concern for a number of our members,” he says.
When Crown land in Alberta is leased out for forestry operations and cattle grazing, the leaseholder is supposed to grant reasonable access to resident hunters if they request permission with enough advance notice. But according to Carter, some leaseholders are instead using the public land as their own private hunting area, or they’re letting a guide or outfitter enjoy exclusive access for their business. “This goes against the principles of these leases,” he says. “That’s fundamentally wrong.”
At press time, the AFGA was drafting a letter to the province’s Ministry of Environment and Protected Areas, which grants the leases. “We want to know who made the decision to permit this to occur,” Carter says, “and what the government is going to do to rectify it.”
To bolster its case, the AFGA is collecting details on when and where the various access denials have been taking place. “We’re going to create a reporting survey, where anytime a resident Alberta hunter experiences refusal to access Crown lands where companies have leases, they’ll be able to report that to us,” Carter says.
The AFGA will then collate that information to determine where and how often the access denials are occurring, and share its findings with the provincial government. Says Carter: “We hope we can find some solutions to hold these leaseholders accountable to the terms of their lease.”
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