A Penticton man is fed up with finding shotgun shells littered throughout the Okanagan’s wilderness.
Andrew Drouin has been mapping trails in the Okanagan for years. On many trails, Drouin said, one can find countless areas littered with thousands of empty plastic shot-gun shells.
Tired of the eyesore and blatant littering, Drouin launched a petition in an attempt to bring awareness and a government response to a problem that he said is only getting worse.
Drouin hopes that making the shells refundable would encourage people to collect them and return them, ultimately leaving less litter in the forest.
“As soon as you start getting out of city limits it becomes sort of a free-for-all zone as far firing off guns,” said Drouin.
He explained that many gun owners will often bring miscellaneous items to the forest to shoot for fun.
“They’re bringing up everything. They’re bringing up old televisions, propane tanks, you name it… Everything you can imagine they’re bringing up to the bush to shoot for fun.”
Drouin said the ground at these “illegal shooting ranges” is constantly carpeted with plastic shot-gun shell casings left behind by gun owners.
As a member of the Carmi Residents Association, Drouin often participate in bush clean-ups. He said they consistently rake up tens of thousands of shells, not just in the Penticton area but all over the valley.
“Year after year it’s the same thing, you can clean up a spot until there isn’t a shell on the ground but if you go back two weeks later it’s covered in shells again,” Drouin explained.
Regardless of whether a refund encourages gun owners to pick up their shells, Drouin said he believes making the shells refundable would encourage other groups, such as Cub Scouts, to clean them up and return them as a fundraising activity while also promoting environmental consciousness
In the Penticton area, Drouin said the forest near Ellis Creek canyon is particularly bad.
The petition has been active for more than two weeks as of May 25, but Drouin said he still hasn’t received any response from the government.
He said if the petition gets good support he will pass it on to local government and ask for the support of a private members bill.