Public Lands

Under the Special Areas Act, the Special Areas Board is responsible for the administration of approximately 2.6 million acres of public land within the area. These lands consist of 1.6 million acres of Crown land and 1 million acres of Municipal Tax Recovery land. The Special Areas Board leases these lands to local farmers and ranchers for grazing and cultivation purposes.

As well the Special Area Board also issues leases to oil and gas producers for the development and production of natural gas and oil reserves.

Municipal Tax Recovery LandsCommunity Pastures

Administration is finishing off applications received from the 2004 Tax Recovery Land Sale. The 2004 sale closed February 2014.

Community pastures in the Special Areas exist to provide a reliable allotment to assist in the establishment and stabilization of farm and ranch units within the Special Areas. There are five community pastures operating in the Special Areas which cover ~177,00 acres, and provide annual grazing allotments to approximately 150 patrons each year.
- Buffalo-Atlee
- Bullpound
- Remount
- Richdale
- Sounding Creek


Special Areas Act R.S.A. 2000, Chapter S-16 with amendments in force as of December 11, 2013.
Special Areas Disposition Regulation, Alberta Regulation 137/2001.
Special Areas Community Pasture Policy – Policy 11-02

Roles & Responsibilities

Community Pasture Patrons –
Community pasture patrons are producers who have animals located in one of the five Special Areas Board community pastures who pay allotment fees to the Special Areas Board.

Administration –
Administration of the community pastures is provided by Special Areas personnel, including the Special Area No. 2 Administrator and the Director of Property Administration. Administration personnel provide operational oversight, administrative supervision, and manage pasture applications/annual allotments. The Special Area No. 2 District Office provides administrative support to this process and is the primary point of contact for any allotment or application questions.

Allotment Committees –
Each pasture association has an allotment committee that includes membership from pasture associations. Allotment committee members are selected from current pasture association members and Special Areas Administration.
These groups meet annually to develop allotment recommendations for the upcoming grazing season. Specific responsibilities of the allotment committee are addressed in section 11 of the Community Pasture policy.

Range Supervisors & Range Riders –
Each community pasture has an assigned Range Supervisor and Range Rider. Special Areas Board employees, the Range Supervisor and Rider(s) manage the day-to-day operations at each community pasture.

Applications, Allotments, Appeals & Rates

How does the application process work?
Applications must be received by a Special Areas district office by December 31 for a patron to be eligible to receive allotments in the upcoming season. Community pasture allotments are determined based on applications submitted each year. For example, allotments for the 2019 grazing season were determined based on applications submitted by December 31, 2018. Applications are reviewed for compliance with the community pasture policy and for completeness.

How does the allotment process work?
Allotments are determined on an annual basis by the Special Areas Board, based on the recommendations of the local allotment committee. Allotments are issued based on the application information provided, the recommendations of the pasture’s allotment committee, and the application of the current community pasture policy. Allotment permit letters are issued in the spring of each year to approved patrons. Patrons are required to pay in advance grazing season fees for their cattle prior to entering pasture.

Can allotment decisions be appealed?
Allotments may be appealed in writing to the Special Areas Board within thirty (30) days of the issuance of the allotment permit letter. Appeals shall be heard by the Special Areas Board with representation supplied from the allotment committee.

How are community pasture rates set?
Community pasture rates are set annually by Ministerial Order based on the recommendation of the Advisory Council and Special Areas Board. These rates are proposed each fall and are historically approved in the spring ahead of the grazing season.