By J.W. Schnarr
Southern Alberta Newspapers – Lethbridge
A new partnership is working to bridge the gap between landowners and recreational users when it comes to land access.
Canadian Land Access Systems and the Alberta Conservation Association have entered a partnership that could see recreational land users gain access to more than 600 properties in Alberta through an online interface.
CLAS has been operating a website since Fall 2016 with the goal of protecting land while providing access. This first year of the website being live has seen more than one million acres of land added to the system with more being added on a regular basis.
The system acts as a way to allow recreational land users an opportunity to gain permission and any needed guidelines for land they wish to enter. At the same time, it provides landowners an opportunity to convey any requests or stipulations on land users prior to allowing them on to private land.
The CLAS platform gives owners the ability to specify rules, set user thresholds, limit liability, and communicate with land users.
Users pay an annual fee to search and access any of the lands available in CLAS. The landowner manages the scheduling with approval based on activities at the time of request.
Approved users can scan in and out on the property, notifying the landowner of their presence and receiving up-to-date rules.
“With strictly controlled public land and property development, prime lands in Alberta are getting more difficult for the average recreational user to access,” stated Mark Wojszel, Co-Founder of CLAS, in a recent news release. “At the same time, landowners are faced with greater liability and a growing sense of pressure to allow users. CLAS enables the dialogue between landowners and users while giving landowners the ability to manage their land easily and effectively.”
Rick Popadynetz is a Taber resident who has been involved in the sport of bow hunting for a decade. He said the current process of finding a landowner to seek permission to enter an area can be very difficult, and involve finding a municipal property map, attempt to identify a landowner, and then try to figure out a way to get in touch with the landowner.
“Some of the companies are numbered,” he said. “How do you get ahold of a landowner who is a numbered company? It’s virtually impossible.”
He said this process can be made more difficult by hunting draws for hunting out of areas the hunters are familiar with.
“If you get drawn for moose, or elk, way up in a northern spot, it’s very difficult to figure out whose land you are going to hunt on and where.”
To list property or become a CLAS member, please visit canadianlandaccess.com.
The CLAS app is available for free from the Apple Store and Google Play Store.