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Taming the 'wild, wild west' in Mission

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
As stolen from Mission City Record

http://www.missioncityrecord.com/news/240612021.html




Carol Aun - Mission City Record
posted Jan 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Illegal gun activity, vandalism and garbage dumping have plagued the Stave Lake area for years, but the damage that occurred over the winter holidays have focused official attention again.


District of Mission and police are stepping up their education and enforcement campaigns to create a safer environment for all visitors to the west side of Stave.


Mission's director of forestry Bob O'Neal said reports describe a scene out of "the wild, wild west."


"People were literally hanging out of their car windows and shooting up the area around them," said O'Neal. "It was horrendous."


Many ATVs were being operated in an unsafe manner, and some drivers did not have a helmet or insurance.


The damage was still evident when O'Neal toured the area with Mission RCMP Sgt. Shaun Wright and Staff Sgt. Rob Dixon.


Every road sign and bridge delineator was shot at, and garbage was piled up in front of forestry gates.


Outhouses and picnic areas were damaged, vehicles were burned, and some trees near Sayres Lake were riddled with bullet holes. A couple of the trees appeared to have been cut down by gunfire.


B.C. recreation officer Mike Peters drove about 10 kilometres up Burma Road on Dec. 28 to investigate a report of a damaged gate near the Sayres Lake campground, and witnessed the unsafe use of firearms. "There were many vehicles in the area and more firearms than I've ever seen," he said. "With the fog, visibility was down to less than 100 yards but the sound of rifles and shotguns was everywhere."


There were a lot of people shooting in the gravel pit, but many were not, he added.






"I'm fearful something tragic will happen," said O'Neal."It's sad when you see how some people treat forest land – they treat it as a dump yard. We'll have to spend thousands of dollars cleaning it up."


Target shooting is illegal in Mission, but many people ignore the bylaw on Burma Road, said O'Neal, explaining the gravel road is District of Mission territory.


There aren't any signs near the gravel pit, around the corner from Sayres Lake, where thousands of shell casings litter the ground because every time one is put up, it is shot at and removed almost immediately, explained O'Neal.


"We need to take control and educate the public," he said. "If we want to attract investments and recreational development, we need to take back control."


The district is just starting to develop a recreation master plan for the area, said O'Neal, who expects the project to take six months to compete.


Police are usually reactive when it comes to dealing with problems near Burma Road, attending only when there is a call for service. But RCMP believe most of the problems are unreported as cell phone coverage is limited.


"We need to change the collective mindset," stated Wright, who described the west side of Stave Lake as a park within the district. "People don't do this in Stanley Park."


Dixon admits police haven't patrolled the area much, but plan on changing that in 2014.


"Our presence makes a difference," he said.


"Additional members will be brought in to perform dedicated patrols throughout the year, with an emphasis on the summer months and other periods of nice weather," added Wright.


Police will also be working with the province and district officials.


"To solve any problem, we have to take a multifaceted approach," explained Wright. "Enforcement is used when other methods, like education, don't have an effect."


Mission's Discharge of Firearms bylaw, which was adopted in 1996, restricts shooting within 150 metres of a highway and prohibits target shooting anywhere within district boundaries, outside of a legal shooting range, without a permit.


"Police urge the public, especially firearms enthusiasts, to educate themselves on local bylaws and regulations regarding legal areas of recreational activities in the Mission area," said Wright.


Mission council's proposal to ban all shooting throughout the community, except at the Mission and District Rod and Gun Club, was strongly criticized last year by hunters.


O'Neal agreed hunters as well as organized recreation user groups, are not the problem.


"We have a problem with illegal use of firearms."


A task force was created last fall to help create a new bylaw regulating the discharge of firearms. The group met in December and will meet again in April before bringing recommendations to council in May.
 

North

Active member
I just hope that they go after the losers causing all this trouble and do not shut the area down. What he says about the area is true. I will not go there on a long weekend. It's like a Mad Max movie set.
 

Dan

Member
It's a health hazard, who is brave enough to approach a bunch of drunk rednecks with live ammunition.

While I hate the problems, the solution sucks for everyone too. The first step being a roadblock sending guys like me with a Jeep that's not quite street legal home on a tow truck.
 

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
While we all know about the problems or at least have heard many or the stories, of how serious the problems are at Stave, it is ultimately up to us as recreational users of that area to get it cleaned up. It obviously wont happen without the support and help of local government and the "authorities".

The District of Mission is developing a very ambitious plan. In 2011, the Province of BC granted “Interpretive Forest” status, within the Municipal Forest (Tree Farm Licence 26) to assist in the planning and development of enhanced recreation opportunities, which will assist in protecting the forests, water and environment from damage by irresponsible use. This plan is still in the preliminary stages and the time is now for us (recreational motorised) to get involved if we want access to this area. The authors of this new plan for TFL26 very much want to include off road motorised along with all other user groups. If you like the idea of creating a managed recreational area that includes off road motorised in TFL26 I strongly recommend that you check out the DoM website here http://www.mission.ca/forestry/mission-interpretive-forest/

In short I believe this area is going to be taken back from the present users who are abusing this land. How it gets back under control will greatly depend on our involvement as users of this area. If we decide not to be involved we can expect to be left out. I personal do not know the area very well, for the obvious reasons of safety. I would think if we pass on the opportunity on the TFL26 development plan, we will be around to regret it.

What can we do now? Im hoping we have a couple of members in the Mission or Maple Ridge area that know the area and could attend some of the meetings and keep us here informed. Everyone should read up on the TFL26 plans and please comment if there is a place to. You would be surprised at how important your comments are.
This is not going to happen overnight but it is going to happen

Tom
 

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member

LordEndo

Member
Staff member
I haven't ridden there, but being as it's in my back yard I guess I better get involved. I sent an email to the forestry folks and will see what I can do to get in the loop.
 

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
We have a volunteer, can anyone else help Ian out

You just have to read and understand some documents and get the message out to the rest of us. (some documents are 100s of pages long)
 

Phoenix

New member
My backyard too, although not in Mission proper. I can read and if I concentrate I can understand. Can at least try to help in some way.

cheers, Alex.
 

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
I could not think of two better guys to keep their finger on the pulse of the mission riding area

I also got this today from MoLNR

Hello
At our meeting today, I found out that there will be potentially several open houses in the first week of June to add to some of the information that has been gathered and also to provide input on future direction of the Master Plan for the area. As soon as I have info on the dates I will share this with you all. I highly recommend having a presence at these meetings if you want to be recognised as a critical component in the planning phases of this project. There may also be an another online survey connected with the next phase of the project as well. Details will be coming out soon.

So do you guys want to introduce yourselves, then let me know and I will make sure everyone that I know that you guys are The Guyz

TT
 

Phoenix

New member
Haha, didn't read your reply properly Tom and introduced myself via PM to you. I may need some therapy(more time riding). Hope to preserve a presence in this area, perfect for shorter practice rides, tire scrubs etc.
 

tomcycle

Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
Haha, didn't read your reply properly Tom and introduced myself via PM to you. I may need some therapy(more time riding). Hope to preserve a presence in this area, perfect for shorter practice rides, tire scrubs etc.

I forwarded your info to Ian

You guys will have to introduce yourselves to the players so they know you guys represent DSBC as off road motorized users and get on their mailing lists. I can help get you some of the contacts and introductions.

Thanks
T
 
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