In 1900, Frederick Weyerhaeuser purchased 900,000 acres of prime Washington timberland from the Great Northern Railway, thus establishing the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company and it's legacy in this state. Depending on your personal feelings, that legacy may or may not be somewhat dubious, considering the vast swaths of old growth forests which were felled in the first half of the 20th Century.
But that isn't the subject of this post. For the most part, Weyerhaeuser has been a good neighbor, permitting non-motorized recreation on their lands, provided it was compatible with logging operations. Hiking, horseback riding, hunting, etc.
In the past decade, Weyerhaeuser has sold most, if not all, of their timberland to an investment group, who shall remain unnamed. By all accounts, they were continuing the tradition of permitting recreation on the lands.
At least until Dec. 31st of this year. Effective Jan. 1, 2012, non-motorized recreation access will require the purchase of permit, at $75 per person, or $150 for the family. The claim is that this is for equitable treatment and to establish rules for behavior on the lands. I tend to believe that ill-behaved recreational users will scoff at the permit, and perpetrate bad behavior undeterred.
I, and others with whom I've discussed the matter, are inclined to believe that, this is nothing more than a means to make a few extra dollars. Recall that the current owners are an "investment group", charged with making money for their shareholders.
There are millions of acres of public timberland in this state. I'll keep my $75, thank you.