With much of the province now experiencing warmer temperatures, the British Columbia government is reminding people heading into the backcountry that they can not build cabins or other structures on Crown land without prior authorization.
The construction or occupation of buildings on Crown land without permission (including hunting cabins, ski huts or long-term residences) is illegal and potentially dangerous.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations takes a tough stand against any unauthorized use or occupation of Crown land, in order to protect the environment and enhance public safety.
Natural resource officers regularly patrol Crown land throughout the province and come across unauthorized structures from time to time. Increased recreational use of British Columbia’s backcountry and easier access to remote areas has resulted in more cases of illegal structures, unauthorized use of Crown land, and the abandonment and storing of vehicles and other equipment.
These activities can:
- cause environmental damage.
- disrupt wildlife habitat and sensitive plant ecosystems.
- negatively affect legitimate uses of Crown land and resources.
- create safety and liability concerns.
It is illegal to use, occupy or build structures on Crown land without prior approval. Penalties of up to $100,000 or the seizure of improvements, goods or materials may apply. The person responsible also could be billed for clean-up costs.
Members of the public are encouraged to call 1 877-952-7277 toll-free (or #7277 on a cellphone) to report illegal structures or suspicious activity. They can also report a suspected natural resource violation online by filling out a form at:
To learn more about obtaining permission to build a structure on Crown land and what activities must be pre-authorized, contact FrontCounter BC at 1 877 855-3222 or visit the FrontCounter BC website: www.frontcounterbc.gov.bc.ca
- Land Act (Sections 59 and 60): http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96245_01
- Forest and Range Practices Act (Section 54 and Section 87): http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/02069_01