More hiking and biking trails on Mount Tzouhalem are causing more interaction between hikers and hunters. (File photo)

North Cowichan to review its gun-use rules

More recreational trails bringing hikers and hunters together

North Cowichan is reviewing where people can fire their guns and bows in the municipality.

Council asked staff to prepare a report on the issue at its meeting on Dec. 20 after receiving a report from North Cowichan’s municipal forester Darrell Frank.

Frank said a review is needed as North Cowichan’s parks and trails master plan is being implemented, particularly in the Mount Tzouhalem and Stoney Hill areas.

As part of the parks and trails program, Franks said new hiking and biking trails for the public on Mount Tzouhalem are expected to be opened that could create a conflict between trail users and hunters.

He said the municipality has also, through the new public road to Stoney Hill, allowed access to land which previously was accessed only through private property.

Franks said the Cowichan Valley Regional District has also purchased lands and incorporated them into a park at Stoney Hill, complete with a parking lot, kiosk, and a washroom.

“In terms of the public use in these two areas, the Mount Tzouhalem area will have an estimated 80,000 visitors in 2017, and the new CVRD Stoney Hill Park will have 35,000 visitors,” Frank said.

“As North Cowichan continues to enhance its forest reserve lands with new signage, expanded parking, and additional amenities, the number of users will continue to increase, creating potential conflict between hunters and other recreation users. There may also be other areas [in the municipality] where firearms discharge should be reviewed.”

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