A look at the illegal firing range that is raising concerns for Prince Rupert RCMP.

A look at the illegal firing range that is raising concerns for Prince Rupert RCMP.

Prince Rupert RCMP warn of illegal firing range near Highway 16

Prince Rupert RCMP are seeking to put an end to the use of an unofficial and unlawful firing range along from Highway 16.

Prince Rupert RCMP are seeking to put an end to the use of an unofficial and unlawful firing range located less than 250 metres away from Highway 16.

The area, accessed through a trail located 1.7 kilometres away east of the Port Edward turnoff, is covered in shotgun shells and discarded items riddled with bullet holes. It even has a stand in one of the nearby trees that can be used for shooting, but Const. Matt Ericson of the RCMP said anyone discharging a firearm there is doing so illegally.

“People are using high-power rifles out here, as well as shotguns and pistols, and, with the highway very close, if any of those rounds were to stray or somebody was shooting in an unsafe direction there is a real concern that one of those rounds could make it to the highway and affect a passing motorist,” said Ericson.

“In recent days, members of the detachment have been seeing an influx of activity out here, more people  coming out to use this area as a shooting range … my understanding is people in the community have been using this for many, many years. With the increased activity and more people coming out here, the risk starts to increase.”

The B.C. Wildlife Act states that firearms cannot be discharged within 400 metres of Highway 16.

“We’re asking members of the public to give us a call in the event that they do hear shots out here and we will come and investigate,” said Ericson.