Public land management has been the subject of much debate in Alberta, a province richly endowed with natural resources and heavily dependent on a variety of land and resource uses for its economic well-being. Over time, with the pace of development increasing, this debate has become more acrimonious. At issue are fundamental values and interests and critical policy and institutional choices that will affect the long-term ecological, economic and social sustainability of Alberta's land and resource base. This paper is intended to contribute to the discussion of legal and policy options for public land management in Alberta. The analysis is based on two premises: (1) there is a critical need for an integrated approach to managing the public domain; and (2) law has a fundamental role to play in structuring decision-making regarding the use of public land and resources. The objective is to assess the extent to which Alberta's land and resource legislation provides a solid legal basis for an integrated approach to public land management. To this end, a template for integrated public land law is used as the standard against which legislation is evaluated.
The research for this paper was made possible by a project grant from the Alberta Law Foundation.