Chilliwack may bill itself as the Great Outside, but one popular recreational area is no longer quite so grand.
Illegal dumpers and careless shooters are spoiling the west side of Vedder Mountain, according to Mark Steinebach, the president of the Vedder Mountain Trails Association (VMTA).
Every spring, volunteers from the six recreational groups that make up the VMTA gather to clean up garbage on the Vedder trails and access roads.
Since the annual cleanup has begun, the group has usually collected between seven and 10 tonnes of trash. The cleanups, which have focused primarily on the busy southeast end of the mountain, have been successful, Steinebach said. Each year, volunteers cover a larger territory to collect the same amount of garbage.
But recently, Steinebach and the VMTA have been alerted to a western section of Vedder Mountain accessible off Majuba Hill Road that has become littered with garbage and shotgun detritus.
Steinebach said an ungated private road provides easy access to a Vedder Mountain forest service road. But many users are taking advantage of its remoteness to dump their trash.
"That entire roadway, including the private property, has just become an absolute dumping ground," Steinebach said. "I have ridden my mountain bike over there and I've seen it over the years and there's always some garbage, but it has become particularly [bad] in this area."
Steinebach said one particular spot near seval trails has become popular with shooters.
"People have been going up there and shooting guns-some apparently automatic guns," he said.
Steinebach said the gunfire has led some trail users to abandon the area due to safety concerns. And there is also the mess the shooters leave behind: Steinebach estimated thousands of shotgun shells carpet the ground. Household waste has also been dumped in the area.
"There's garbage everywhere, and it's yard waste, it's household garbage and it's industrial waste," he said.
? The VMTA will hold their annual cleanup in March. For more information visit www. vmta.ca.