Gun enthusiasts in the valley have new shooting grounds as the members of the Canal Flats Wilderness Club are putting the finishing touches on a new range off the Kootenay Forest Government Road behind the Village of Canal Flats.
It’s the club’s first shooting range in more than 20 years.
“We had a range out by Green Road until 1992, but it’s ceased to exist,” said Village of Canal Flats Public Works Co-ordinator and club member Bill Doroschuk, who takes care of the range.
The club started lobbying for the project in 2008, secured the land in 2009, logged and cleared the property in 2010, and has relied on volunteers to bring the range to its current state of near-completion. When all the building is done, the final cost will be roughly $10,000.
The club is hoping to have shooting events arranged before the end of summer.
“We use everything from paper targets to reactive targets, steel plates and silhouettes,” said Mr. Doroschuk.
The addition of the range will also act as a safety item, he said, because it prevents gun owners from going into the bush to shoot, giving them instead a safe, designated place to practice the sport.
“It’s going to be incredible,” he said.
Once the range is in full operation, Mr. Doroschuk hopes to set up cowboy action shooting — a competitive sport which pits shooters up against themselves, but can also be played to compete against others.
“It’s a nice hand-eye coordination sport,” he said, adding that the club will likely challenge other shooting groups from the valley to their competitions.
The Canal Flats Wilderness Club welcomes all types of guns up to 50 calibre, including hand guns, hunting rifles, 22s, and even some pellet guns, he said. The addition of a 3D archery range is also on the horizon.
Mr. Doroschuk said that in order for the range to be government-sanctioned, it must be run by the club and have registered members.
“You don’t have to have a hunting license to belong, but you have to belong to the gun club to shoot at the range unless you’re a guest.”
Anybody looking to join or find out more about the club can contact Dave and Jill White, the couple that runs the club, by calling 250-349-5478. The annual fee to use the range comes to $50 — a required $20 range maintenance fee plus the $30 club membership.
— With files from Nicole Trigg