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Campers take explosives home from Upper Squamish


A group of young people camping in the Upper Squamish Valley over the long weekend helped themselves to a logging company's store of explosives.

The father of a 20-year-old Bowen Island resident came across the explosives on his property and he decided to secure the materials then make sure it got into the hands of the authorities.

According to Mike Braraten, the best way to make sure the materials didn't fall into the wrong hands was to call CBC television and ask a reporter to contact the RCMP. Braraten said that was the best way to handle the situation for the safety of everyone in the province and he was concerned he might be charged with possession of stolen property.

Braraten said he has no idea how the explosives got onto his property, whether they came to the island on by ferry or private boat, but said he knows for certain that the explosives were discovered by his 20-year-old son. Kirk Braraten discovered the materials in an unlocked magazine in the Elaho Valley while camping over the holiday long weekend.

"They were drinking, they had a campfire, they were half pissed and they went four-wheeling," said the father. "They came across this thing and my son reached under and opened the unlocked latch."

The campers then backed a truck up to the open container and unloaded some of the blasting materials.

Sgt. Colin Worth of the Squamish RCMP described the decision to take the explosives as a bad impulse by some kids who should have known better.

Worth confirmed the campers were easily able to pillage the magazine because it was left unlocked.

According to Worth, a group of about 35 people were camping together in the area of the explosives shed. The group was made up of people between the ages of 15 to 22 and they were all from Bowen Island, Lions Bay and the North Shore. Worth said most of the explosive materials were left behind in the shed.

As of Wednesday (June 1), Worth said he was sure all the material that could be recovered was recovered.

"I am confident there is no danger to the public," Worth said.

The concerned father on Bowen Island said when the young campers discovered the materials they were trying to set some of it off.

"The kids were throwing it around trying to get it to explode and they were trying to burn it," Braraten said. "Everything you shouldn't do."

Worth traveled to Bowen Island earlier this week and worked in conjunction with the two RCMP members stationed on the island to locate and seize material at the home of Mike Braraten.

"I was glad to get rid of it," said Braraten.

"What the hell is going on with these blasters? Why can't they lock these things up and handle them the way they are supposed to. It got into the hands of kids. If kids can find it that means anyone can get it, including Bin Laden and other terrorists."

After visiting the Braraten residence Worth interviewed others involved in the incident who live on the North Shore.

The matter is still under investigation and when Worth was asked if charges would be laid he reiterated that the case is still actively under investigation.

"Basically they are good kids," said Braraten and he noted his son has never been in trouble with the law.

Harry Stant of Elaho Logging, the company contracted to run the logging operations in the area, said he was instructed not to speak about the matter while the RCMP conducted its investigation.

Stant said he is waiting for a report on the matter from the RCMP.

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