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The Province of British Columbia is closing numerous popular crown land areas to firearm enthusiasts. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has announced that “no shooting” zones have been created within 400 metres of a large number of forest service roads in the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Recreational shooting north of Mission around Stave Lake and Sylvester Road have often been criticized for the oftentimes reckless nature of those involved, as well as the propensity for shooters to leave behind trash and targets ranging from shotgun hulls to propane tanks and junk cars. Reacting to numerous complaints of errant shots, stolen cars, and the literal fields of garbage left behind, the Ministry’s new “no shooting” zone regulations go beyond the existing popular areas to include nearly all forest service roads within a similar distance of civilization. Obviously the intent is to avoid seeing similar conditions created in areas that would have otherwise been unaffected by the new regulations had the Ministry limited their scope to the existing shooting areas. The regulations are not applicable to hunting activities.

The loss of some popular shooting areas in a region almost bereft of accessible crown land is, undoubtedly, not a good thing. However, personally having both been shot at and having had family members have more than one bullet pass through their moving vehicle in the area, this news is not a surprise. When any group monopolizes an area of the back country, especially in a manner that is both harmful to the region’s ecosystem and dangerous to those trying to enjoy it, governments or law enforcement will step in. So for those reading this elsewhere, let this be a cautionary tale; if you go shooting on crown land pack out more than you packed in and always ensure that your shooting is both safe and courteous to other land users.