Recreational users have been illegally accessing the Nanaimo Military Rifle Range for years, but with training nearly tripling at the site this year, the Canadian Armed Forces are trying to put an end to the encroachment.

“The trespassing here is pretty rampant,” says Ron Sellers, a range control officer for CFB Esquimalt, which operates the site.

The Forces say hikers, mountain bikers and people on ATVs access the range by cutting through fences and removing concrete barriers and signage.

“These fences that are being cut down, the signs that are being removed, they’re all there to identify danger,” says Sellers.

The boundaries in place are determined based on the largest weapon used on the range and the distance it can travel and still be lethal, which is 2.8 kilometres.

A meeting took place Thursday afternoon between range officials and users groups in an effort to come up with a shared land use agreement.

But because of the liability issues, the rifle range says that’s not going to happen.

Warnings will soon be issued to anyone trespassing on the range.

Trespassers could face a $1,000 fine or a year in jail for illegally accessing a controlled area under the National Defence Act.