Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Neighbors

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.


Bag Blog said...

You are probably right on the investment group wanting to make a buck or possibly discourage access. About 50 years ago the National Forest Service in NM made 99 year leases to people who built small cabins on the properties. There were a few restrictions, but not too many. Since then the NFS has changed things making everyone sign new 20 year leases with lots of rules including telling a friend of mine she could no longer have flower boxes on her cabin. Never mind that the boxes have been there for 30 years. Some people just seem to live to make things difficult.

Andy said...

The $75/$100 is probably to pay a private security company to enforce the permit regulations, or hire their own staff.

Job creation!

Heck, they're likely not going to enforce anything. I wonder if there will actually be a fine (or a penalty)if anyone does get caught, other than being told to buy a permit.

Modern Day Redneck said...

You are right, I would keep mine as well.

Buck said...

What MDR said.

Speaking of Weyerhauser and other logging companies... I used to LOVE to ride my dirt bike on the logging roads in the Oregon forests, especially the older ones that had fallen out of use and weren't as well maintained. It could be pretty challenging to ride at a good clip on the old roads and somewhat dangerous, too (think hitting washouts at 40 or 50 mph). All part o' the challenge.

Kipp said...

I would want to invest with that company...does not sound like they are good at investing.
I mean, at $75/permit/person it will take a few hundred years to recoup the money they used to purchase the land, amiright? :)

Swan said...

Well at least they are giving you a choice. Down here in Utah the US government has closed off access to any wild land(they own around 65-75% the land in Utah), by any means and if you are handicapped they don't want you in most of there $40 per unit a night blacktop and concrete campgrounds. If you can find a place to go you are almost on the very top of the mountains and have gone though private land gates and fences(almost all marked no trespassing). Then across Fed lands, to get to spend 72 hours and before a Ranger shows up and forces you to move at least five(5) miles as the crow fly's before you can camp again. If I where you, I would be keeping an eye on this investment group. They may make it hell for you all too.

Mary said...


Michael said...

"Non-motorized recreation access will require the purchase of permit, at $75 per person, or $150 for the family." - hmmm.
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