I was a guest at the Wildhorse Mountain Ranch, next door to the Summerland Sportsman’s Association Rifle Range from Aug. 18 to 23.
The reason I came here was to have a restful vacation after a hard year of work. I had just spent a week in Naramata and was due to attend a conference in Kamloops the following week, so I had a few days to pass between towns and chose the Wildhorse Mountain Ranch to spend my time.
I envisioned that the sounds of horses neighing, birds singing and the wind whistling through the pine trees would lull me into a relaxing time.
Instead, I was shocked to hear rifle shots coming from the rifle range next door, all day long. Then I was horrified to hear them continue after dusk on Sunday, Aug. 19.
The owners of Wildhorse Mountain Ranch, Brigitte and Jochen Schlorff, told me according to the lease, there must not be any shooting after dusk or before dawn.
On Sunday evening, the shooting went on past 9 p.m. I know that the sun went down a good hour before that time. It seems that shooting was allowed to go beyond the time limits.
The owner drove over to the shooting range to talk with the individuals but the shooting only stopped while he was on the property and began again when he drove off. It was past sunset, long past dusk.
This type of illegal behaviour does nothing to further tourism in Summerland specifically and in B.C. generally.
The owners and staff of the Wildhorse Mountain Ranch work hard to make sure their guests are comfortable during their stay. I don’t know how many tourists if any use the Summerland Rifle Range.
I was also concerned about the safety aspect of shooting after dusk. It seems improbable that the shooters could even see their targets in the dark. As a good neighbour, this should not be encouraged or tolerated. As a holder of the lease with the Ministry of Forests on Crown land, this is against the lease agreement.
I would like to return to Wildhorse Mountain Ranch as a guest, but I would not like to be subjected to a repeat performance of constant shooting, especially after dark.
Evelyn von Almassy
Queen Charlotte, B.C.