After driving about 5km up Dixon Mountain Road, an area couple decided to stop and walk their dog along an old, but still active logging road to the left of the main road. They had walked about one kilometer when they noticed a large open area that was completely littered with what looked like it had been used as dumpsite. But on taking a closer look it was determined the site was being used for target shooting, with debris resulting from the shooting being strewn everywhere .
There was broken glass scattered around an old TV set that had been shot to pieces, and stretching around the flat open area the ground was littered with shells, broken clay pidgeons, makeshift targets, and old shredded plywood. There was also another, larger TV set that had also served as a target, and propped on top of it was a mannequin head that had served the same purpose.
Finding this appalling mess on public land, spoiled the afternoon for couple. What they had come to know as a quiet natural backcountry spot was no more.
The situation was brought to the attention of the North Thompson Star/Journal newspaper, and this reporter spoke with several local residents who also use the general area, especially for horseback riding.
“This has gone on for years,” commented some of those interviewed, “But now it has become dangerous for us to bring our animals here. The junk left behind is not only unsightly, it is also dangerous; because people as well as their horses may step on the debris and injure themselves.”
It was also pointed out that anyone accessing the Dixon Mountain back roads can’t miss the ‘RAPP’ sign that encourages observers to report people who poach or leave garbage behind. They are clearly made aware of the fact that their actions are a serious offense.
Target shooting is a recognized sport and for those who wish to participate in it, there are shooting ranges that are organized and managed by responsible organizations and clubs.
Mel Schmidt, president of the North Thompson Fish and Game Club represents one such organization that boasts a membership of 100 strong.
Asked if club members are aware of the misuse of public property for target shooting that is going on in the Barriere area Schmidt answered, “None of our members would condone such activity. We are absolutely appalled by it.”
Schmidt also noted that the club has entered into negations with government agencies to acquire land for a shooting range.
“This process will likely take a year or more,” said Schmidt, “But we are confident that we will be successful in establishing a well managed shooting range to allow target shooters to participate in their sport.”