Urban sprawl could one day change the way of life on the outskirts of Trail – including use of rural lands in Casino.
That’s why members of the Trail Wildlife Association, which stands at around 400, may want to make a point of attending this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).
On the table for discussion Wednesday, Jan. 30, is the association’s aim to buy the Casino Gun Range so the property will be protected as a firearms range for perpetuity – no matter who moves in next door.
The organization currently leases the land from Teck. For a number of years the executive has been looking at buying the land from the company and expanding the range, located 7.5 kilometres south of Trail at 3430 Casino Road.
This intention has risen to the top of the roster for the 2019 AGM with Bill Wenman, chair of the range, presenting a comprehensive overview.
“The main topic will be the purchase of the gun range,” President Terry Hanik said. “This is going to be important for the members to come and find out what’s going on.”
Anyone who wants to use the firearms and/or archery range must be a member of the TWA (Trail Wildlife Association), so another topic at the AGM will be membership dues.
Besides managing the Casino property, the TWA plays an important role in conservancy, its vision being, “Focuses on the protection, enhancement and wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.”
With that directive in mind, the executive will update members on the status of deer, caribou and elk populations in the region and they will touch on the closure of Fort Shepherd.
“Eight years ago when I started being warden down there it was a mess,” said Hanik. “There were shanties, couches, garbage … it took a couple of years with the dump truck and Teck, we loaded everything out. And three years ago, some people went down into the land conservancy and tore up the creek,” he added.
“Now you go into Fort Shepherd and it’s like a park, it’s just green all the way down and the garbage is gone.”
After 17 years serving as association president, Hanik is hoping for another outcome at the annual meeting.
He says the executive is getting a little long in the tooth, so it’s time for new blood to step up and become part of the voluntary conservation efforts.
“We are an older group,” Hanik said. “We would like to see the younger generation come in and help out, so it’s important for them to come to the AGM if they want to have their say on what’s coming up. And all are welcome.”
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the Colombo Lodge.
The TWA has been part of the local landscape since 1925, though back then it was called the Trail Rod and Gun Club. The club became the Trail Wildlife Association in the ’60s, and since that time has advocated for fish and wildlife habitat protection, as well as encouraged safe handling and proper care of firearms by providing range facilities and basic firearms training for young people.