Land use - recreation activities and adventure guiding

Last updated on February 12, 2024

British Columbia is world-renowned – attracting millions of visitors each year from other parts of our province, across Canada and around the globe. Recreation activities on Crown land are a key contributor to B.C.’s economy. For more details, check out the Strategic Framework for Tourism in B.C.

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A wide range of popular outdoor adventure activities include nature-viewing, wildlife viewing, mountaineering, backpacking, caving, horseback riding, mountain-biking, off-road vehicle touring such as snowmobiling, snowshoeing, kayaking, white-water rafting and heli-skiing.

A Land Act tenure is required for recreation operators on provincial Crown land (including land covered by water) if activities involve compensation or reward, received or promised, from residents and non-residents of B.C.. This includes the following types of recreation activities:

  • Guiding, transportation, training and entertainment
  • Improvements such as cabins, huts, lodges (including anchored floating structures), docks, campgrounds, and corrals

Application documents

In addition to reading the information on this webpage, the following documents should be reviewed prior to submitting your application:

The following documents must be completed prior to submitting your application:

Depending on the type of operation being applied for, please select the appropriate application requirements checklist:

Who may apply?

Applications for new Land Act tenures, tenure assignments, or tenure replacements must be:

  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents 19 years of age or older; or
  • Corporations which are incorporated or registered in British Columbia. Corporations also include registered partnerships, cooperatives, and non-profit societies which are formed under the relevant Provincial statutes; or
  • First Nations through Band corporations or Indian Band and Tribal Councils (for details, refer to the general policy for Eligibility and Restrictions (PDF, 263KB))

Types of tenures

The Form of Crown Land Allocation Policy describes the types of Land Act tenures. For example:

  • A Lease is intended for substantive Improvements to Crown land (e.g. small resorts or a base camp lodge) and/or where a survey is necessary to confirm legal boundaries with other uses. The standard term is up to 30 years
  • A Licence of Occupation is intended for minor Improvements, if there are potentially multiple users of an area (overlapping interests) and/or the Province needs to retain future options and management control over the use of the lands. The standard term is up to 30 years, whereas a Temporary Licence of Occupation is intended for short term uses up to 2 years (e.g. a special event for recreation/tourism has a term no longer than 14 days over a 30-day consecutive period)

A Licence of Occupation conveys fewer rights than a lease. A Licence of Occupation conveys non-exclusive use, is not a registerable interest, and does not require a survey. Although this tenure is non-exclusive, Improvements such as cabins and fuel caches may be locked.

The type of Land Act tenure under the Land Use Operational Policy for Adventure Tourism (PDF, 875KB), depends on the nature and scope of the intended recreation use, as follows:

  • Part A: Intensive Use Sites - A Licence of Occupation or Lease is available for Improvements within small Intensive Use Sites
  • Part B: A Licence of Occupation is available for non-exclusive adventure guiding within Extensive Use Areas
  • Part C: A Temporary Licence is available for Special Events for recreation activities such as short-term sporting events, adventure activities, cultural events and music festivals

Fees and costs

You'll be required to pay an application fee when you submit your application, as identified in the Crown Land Fees Regulation (e.g. only commercial recreation mechanized guiding is $3,300 plus tax)

Annual rents are determined based on the type of tenure and land values.

  • A Lease for an Intensive Use Site is 8% of the BCA land value for primary sites and 5% of BCA land value is for secondary sites
  • A Licence of Occupation for an Intensive Use Site is 7.5% of BCA land value for primary sites and 4.5% of BCA land value for secondary sites
  • A Licence of Occupation for Extensive Use (guiding) Areas is based on Client Day fees of $6 mechanized guiding, $4 mechanized ski guiding and $1 non-mechanized

Minimum annual rent for a Lease or a Licence of Occupation is $675 plus tax.

For Special Events Permits (Temporary Licences):

  • For Extensive Use (guiding) Areas: rent is calculated as the total Client Day fee for the period, or $125, whichever is greater (Client Day fees are $6 mechanized guiding, $4 mechanized ski guiding and $1 non-mechanized); and
  • For Intensive Use Sites: rent for temporary Improvements is calculated as $100 for each Intensive Use Site
  • Minimum rent for Special Events Permit (Temporary Licence) is $125

For additional details about annual rent, including the definitions for primary or secondary Intensive Use Sites, refer to the pricing sections of the Land Use Operational Policy for Adventure Tourism (PDF, 275KB).

Special requirements

If your application is accepted, you'll be notified if Advertising is required. Please wait for confirmation before advertising.

Tenure holders are encouraged to build relationships and business opportunities with local Indigenous Peoples.

For new tenure applications related to adventure guiding, a third-party joint use agreement with existing adventure guiding tenure holders is recommended prior to a tenure application to promote good relations on the shared use of Crown land.

Tenure holders must abide by the provincial Backcountry Recreation/Tourism Wildlife Guidelines (PDF, 930KB) and any local guidelines or directives from the Province on protecting wildlife (e.g. Mountain Caribou) and their habitat, as updated from time to time.

Specific considerations related to hunting and fishing guides include:

  • Commercial recreation hunting and fishing guide activities are authorized under the Wildlife Act and do not require a guiding tenure under the Land Act. Other adventure guiding activities and any Improvements on Crown land must be tenured under the Land Use Operational Policy for Adventure Tourism (PDF, 875KB)
  • Tenures for Intensive Use Sites must in the name of the Guide Territory Certificate holder

Some exemptions to the tenure requirement are described in Appendix 1 of the Land Use Operational Policy for Adventure Tourism (PDF, 875KB) regarding activities deemed to be Incidental Use. 

If you have questions regarding any part of the application process, a specific file or a proposal about a specific area, please contact FrontCounter BC

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