This section elaborates on the general discussion of Crown land use planning presented in Section 2.2 and is intended to assist in determining topics that should be addressed as in or out of scope of Crown land use planning.

6.1 Scope of Crown land use planning

Crown land use planning is intended to result in land use decisions that show where, and under what circumstances, certain land use activities can occur on Crown lands in Ontario. Crown land use planning attempts to deal with and integrate a broad range of objectives. Because MNRF carries out a variety of types of strategic planning at higher levels, and detailed resource management and operational planning at the local level, questions sometimes arise as to what should be categorized as a land use decision, or decisions on area-specific land use policy. The following discussion provides more detailed guidance.

Crown land use planning decisions include:

  • assigning Crown lands and waters to specific Crown land use designations with associated general policies
  • establishing land use goals and objectives for planning units
  • determining the principal land uses that may occur on specific areas
  • establishing broad direction for the permitted uses

Resource management planning generally deals with a single resource or provides detailed direction for the management of an area that has been allocated to a land use designation, such as forest management planning. Crown Land Use Policy Atlas (CLUPA) policy reports show include area-specific land use policy and generally not include resource management or operational direction.

Crown land use planning processes can become complex if attempts are made to resolve detailed resource management issues, particularly if the planning process is dealing with a large planning unit. There are also regulatory requirements associated with resource management planning that would need to be integrated into Crown land use planning processes.

The following types of activities do not result in land use decisions, and thus are generally not dealt with in Crown land use planning, as direction for these activities is usually provided by resource management plans or specific review and approval processes:

  • establishing specific areas intended for disposition
  • authorizing activities (by letter, permit, lease, sale, transfer, etc.) on Crown land where they are permitted by existing land use policy
  • establishing conditions on use or detailed operational direction

If provincial policy for a Crown land use designation generally permits an activity, then it may be considered in a local area covered by the designation through the normal review and approval processes without a Crown land use planning process. The only exception would occur where the proposed activity clearly conflicts with the area-specific land use intent.

Land use plans should not include recommendations for specific management actions.

6.2 Role of Crown land use planning in access or road planning

Crown land use planning is the appropriate process for developing direction on the type, extent and intensity of access that will be permitted over larger areas. This direction does not directly deal with the location, construction, management or decommissioning of roads or trails. Local direction on the construction, use and management of roads and trails is primarily developed through resource management planning or operational processes. However, there will often be some overlap in the types of decisions that can be made in each type of planning.

The following examples must be read in the context that in some cases there may be constraints or guidelines on the types of access policies that can be established. Section 11.0 of the Guide provides guidance related to access for mineral exploration and development.

Examples of access decisions that can be made in Crown land use planning are:

  • whether motorized access will be permitted in a specific area
  • if motorized access is permitted, potential restricted to specific activities (e.g. commercial activities, or limited to existing access)
  • establishing broad guidelines on access, such as establishing restrictions or prohibitions on access in certain portions of a land use area or in proximity to specific types of values
  • time limits on use of road infrastructure. For example, an area may be closed to all motorized access during certain times of the year or after specific management activities are completed (this decision may also be made in resource management planning)

Examples of road and trail decisions that can be made through resource management planning or operational processes are:

  • locations of roads and trails, including planning for broad corridors and specific locations
  • construction standards for roads (e.g. type of road)
  • phasing of road construction
  • management strategies, including monitoring, maintenance, possible restrictions on use and possible decommissioning of infrastructure such as bridges
  • assignment of management responsibility
  • seasonal use policy (e.g. roads are only open for a specific hunting season)

Many Crown land use planning processes did not develop explicit local access policies. Where appropriate, this can be addressed through a review of local land use policies.

Access often requires the use of aggregate resources, which are expensive to transport over long distances. Land use planning for access should include consideration of the need for aggregate resources.