Popular shooting areas along Fraser Valley forest service roads have now been designated as "no shooting" zones by the province of BC.
The province of BC has amended the Wildlife Act to restrict shooting firearms within 400 meters of select forest service roads with the cited reason of public safety and lack of respect for the environment. Anyone caught ignoring the new amendment can face up to $50000 in fines and 6 months in jail for a first offence, and a $100000 fine and a year in jail for subsequent offences. The amendment doesn't effect licensed hunting or trapping activities and First Nation hunting rights.
As hard as we try to be on the side of firearms owners with this we can't this time, those responsible for leaving their mess behind and creating safety risks messed this up for themselves. A few people are of course the exception and go above and beyond to clean up everyone's mess, but the majority can't be bothered to clean up after themselves and in fact have turned some of these shooting areas into dumping grounds. By bringing in cars as targets, leaving spent shell casings and brass, and leaving refuse in once pristine locations irresponsible recreational shooters have forced the Province to act in its' interests to protect the environment. It's not hard to bring in responsible targets, nor is it hard to clean up pack out your mess at the end of the day.
In regards to safety concerns it has been reported that there has been unsafe shooting toward vehicles, cabins, recreational sites, and that it's even forced fire crews to abandon fire suppression activities in 2016 due to gunfire in their direction. If these reports are true then these irresponsible recreational shooters are forgetting one of the basic safety rules of discharging firearms; know your target and beyond. Especially in areas of crown land that aren't designated shooting ranges having a good backstop and knowing what is between you and that backstop is crucial.
This does however raise the question of how the Province intends to enforce the new amendment. With already over extended wildlife officers and police presence this seems to be only capable of being enforced if there happens to be an officer within earshot. The amendment seems to only give enforcement officers extra ability to charge someone with what used to be a lawful activity when caught in the act.
We really do hope that a middle ground can be found and that this amendment isn't permanent. If the Province does lift the amendment then we hope that shooters in the area have learned their lesson and behave more responsibly. Also recreational shooters province, and Canada wide should look at this case as an example of what could easily happen in your area. Firearm owners come under enough external attacks to our rights and lawful activities, we don't need to become our own worst enemies.