LETTER: Please use your guns safely, Squamish

I’m writing to you about an interesting overnight camping adventure off the Mamquam Forestry Road the first weekend of the month.

My husband and I are from Vancouver and we love camping. We set out this past weekend on a little bicycle packing trip on our mountain bikes. The weather was perfect. The sun was shining and the air was a comfortable temperature. We felt so lucky to be able to live so close to Squamish and enjoy a gorgeous peaceful fall weekend.

We found our camping spot on the Mamquam River by the Nine-Mile bridge, we set up our tent and settled into the woods with a nice hot cup of tea — until out of the forest came a barrage of noisy gunshots.

This lasted for two hours before finally ceasing at dusk.

We awoke in the morning to more of these chilling sounds and our peaceful spot was invaded by the cracking echoes of gunshots.

We packed up and hesitantly set out on a day ride to explore the Mamquam area, not thinking we were risking our lives.

The Mamquam area is for all recreational users. We get it. We cycled by several individuals who were using this area for target practice. Now, we are city folk who are used to the sounds of revving car engines and buses, not guns. We decided to educate ourselves and even befriended some of these gun enthusiasts.

We wanted to embrace the diversity of interests of the users in this area until we reached our tolerance level after suddenly feeling like we were the targets.

We were riding down a hill around Mamquam kilometre 20. Just as we rounded a bend, we approached a group of men sitting comfortably around a vehicle on our left and we spotted a man who immediately shot his rifle across the road. We slammed on our brakes just seconds before reaching him. Was he trying to get a shot in before we inconveniently passed him? Are there no gun laws protecting all users of this beautiful land? How can these individuals think shooting a rifle across the road to a target in a clearing above is OK?

We don’t own a gun and the only thing we shoot is from our camera. Oh Canada, please consider using your guns safely and be mindful of other nature-loving individuals who like you, seek peace and beauty in the woods. 

Janie Venis
Vancouver

Editor’s note: This incident has been reported to local police, the letter-writer told The Chief. Squamish RCMP confirms target shooting is not allowed within the municipal boundaries, which extends up the Mamquam Forest service road.  You can shoot on Crown land, however, it has to be 400 metres from a roadway, and one needs to be aware of the surroundings.

@ Copyright Squamish Chief