A sign posted by the Salmon Arm Snowblazers is now riddled with birdshot – just part of the vandalism the local snowmobile club is having to contend with.
Club director Sandy Milne said a very small group of people are probably behind the vandalism and she hopes that through education they will see the harm their actions can cause.
A notice posted on the club’s Facebook page on Sunday, March 3 noted the sign, requesting that people refrain from having fires outside a designated fire pit, had been shot with a shotgun. In addition, the post says a large pallet fire was lit in the middle of the parking lot near the damaged sign. Hundreds of nails, broken glass and approximately 20 shotgun shells were also found.
Milne said the fires outside the recently-upgraded fire pit are hazardous because pallets, a common fuel source for bonfires, contain nails which can damage the tires on vehicles that park in the lot.
“We have hundreds of vehicles that go up there to go snowmobiling and use that area for other things and they get holes in their tires,” she said
Milne added volunteers have to clean up the debris from the pallet fires and it is becoming getting very tiring.
It is not the Snowblazers’ intention to discourage people from using the space at the parking lot to build a fire and enjoy the beautiful view over the Salmon River Valley.
“We want it to be done so it works for everybody and it’s safe,” Milne said. “We want our customers that are sledders and other outdoor enthusiasts to be able to go up and unload in that parking lot and not worry about getting a flat tire.”
This is not the snowblazers’ first time dealing with vandalism. Last year, the club’s groomer was intentionally damaged by someone.
“We’re just building our way to have some funds in our account and it cost us $1,000 for our insurance,” Milne said.
Events like the upcoming Sunshine Poker run on March 16 help the club raise money.
Milne said she hopes a little bit of information will elevate the vandals’ understanding and maybe lead them to feel more compassion towards the sled club, particularly the volunteers. She feels there is an “us-against-them” mentality reflected in the vandals’ actions.
“That’s really what you’re dealing with. If people are using rifles to shoot up stuff, it’s an agressive behaviour,” she said.