Weyerhaeuser Goes To Permit-only Access To Most NW Tree Farms

Last hunting season it was the productive Vail and Pe Ell Tree Farms. This fall, vast swaths of Weyerhaeuser’s timberlands in Washington and Oregon will require a permit to drive, ride horses or even walk onto and pursue deer, elk and other species.

The international corporation posted the new rules for access to its Longview, Aberdeen, Coos Bay,  North Valley, South Valley and Springfield Tree Farms online over the past seven days.

But where only a limited number of Vail and Pe Ell permits will again be available, that apparently won’t be the case on at least the Longview — it’s not mentioned, at any rate, in a recording — and other farms, though there will be some large areas where only a set number are offered.

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We’ve got requests for comment out to WDFW, ODFW and Weyerhaeuser, but meanwhile, the guys on Hunting Washington are discussing the change here.

Prices listed online show that 2014 permits will range from $75 to $350, and the program begins August 1, the start of fall bear seasons.

Last year, when access to Vail — which had long been open on October and November general season weekends for free, drive-in deer hunting — went on sale in mid-June, all 650 permits sold out the same day.

The end of public access there led WDFW to close its long-standing deer check station.

Weyerhaeuser is also offering more lands for hunting leases as well, including 12 areas on the Longview farm.

A GATE BARS VEHICULAR ACCESS TO A WEYERHAEUSER TREE FARM IN SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON. (JASON PHELPS)

A GATE BARS VEHICULAR ACCESS TO A WEYERHAEUSER TREE FARM IN SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON. (JASON PHELPS)

Some lands will remain open to public access without permits, and on the Longview Tree Farm, they wouldn’t be needed to travel corridors to state lands, according to the company.

Requiring a permit for access, whether it be to lands or parking areas, isn’t new in the Northwest, but last year, after Weyerhaeuser instituted the policy on Vail and Pe Ell, WDFW honchos worried about where the trend would take hunting.

A Weyerhaeuser spokesman told us then that it was a “pilot,” and that it was being instituted because it’s become increasingly costly for the company to keep its lands open to the public due to vandalism, dumping and other damage.

Previously it had tried selling access to the Molalla Tree Farm for $250 for similar reasons but discontinued it. That was in 2008 around the time of the recession.

But at least one company has bucked the trend. Port Blakely announced last year that it was phasing out its recreational access fee program.

“While the program helped offset some of the expenses associated with public recreational access, we realized that excluding the public did not align with our long history of partnering with our neighbors and friends, trusting them to respect our forests and access policy,” it announced online.

Weyerhaeuser says permits and leases will be available for sale and bidding later this spring.

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53 thoughts on “Weyerhaeuser Goes To Permit-only Access To Most NW Tree Farms”

    1. You will want to check the new rules for each tree farm. They vary (see the links in the first and second paras). Many will allow continued access for those with the permits, for activities like horseback riding and armed hiking.

  1. I saw this coming a few years ago. Well how about me have all the politicians repeal the tax breaks these guys get. After all we no longer get public access if its a fee based system. Its their land so they can do as they want but its our state so we can feel free to tax as well. They see the money associated with hunting so they want to cash in on it. The idea of ever hunting in the lower 48 on public access land is going away. The state requires access fees as well they you need to purchase the discovery pass on top of it. Might as well save some cash and go every three years to Africa.

  2. So again the sportsmen and women have to pick up the tab for the few that do not respect the land. I promise you we are not the ones doing the damage! Well even though your property is literally my back yard. I will not be buying a permit to hunt there. I choose to pack up and hunt elsewhere!

    Washington State has a drug problem and until we get the meth addicts out of our woods there will be trash, damage, and theft!
    Amazingly they choose not to be in the area during hunting season?

    WDFW should be worried, because empty promises and opportunities in this state will drive all of us to hunt out of state.

  3. Could you not see this coming? The timber giants have closed much of their land the last few years for “fire danger, or vandalism” as a precursor to more revenue from selling hunting opportunities. And hunters will be led right into that. Large corporate game farms is what is coming to the Northwest, not unlike Texas where it is nearly impossible to just go hunting.

  4. I have hunted here my whole life just like my dad, my grandad and my great grandad as well as my boys and many other freinds and family. This is taking away family tradition and a time to bond. The ones who value this out weigh the ones that ruin it. These timber companies should put some thought into this and I surley hope that the old mighty dollar isn’t what they are really wanting. Just remember you can’t take $ to the grave with you but you you can def leave you family with many found memories of spending time out hunting in the woods as the yrs go by. This will take a huge chunk out of my family and what we usally do around the fall.

  5. First they kill off half the big game with their sprays. Pulled actual msds from spray posted and it quoted young not likely to reproduce. Now this crap. I believe they tried this in Montana and it did not go over well at all! What are they going to do when everybody cuts they’re gates down. How much will that cost them? Gonna hire the sherriffs to patrol all the hunters? Make vigilantes out of everyone who doesn’t want to pay the kings taxes for shooting his deer. Where does it end? If they had to pay the same property tax for one month as the rest of us land owners do it would bankrupt them in a month.

  6. Everyone needs to contact your County Commissioners on this. They have the ability to change the Preferential Tax rate that these Corporate Timber Companies receive, now that they have become a Recreational Business.

  7. I think they are just trying to improve the bottom line to look good for investors, as they are going through another round of lay-offs again too….new CEO since last year you see!

  8. If this was your private land and people were trashing it you would be screeming private property rights. Yes it is sad/bad that the timber companies are being forced to limit access, to their land, because some people insist on dumping their garbage, vandalism, and wood theft. But bottom line, it is their land. Just like anyother neighbor they have a right to decide who can and can not be on their land.

    Think about it.

  9. It is their land & they can do what they choose. That being said I believe that this will cause more bad then good for these private land owners. More people will be sneaking around and it may even cause more poaching. My family hunts so we have meat to get us through the winter. We already pay high prices for out license & tags to hunt deer & elk, there is no way we could afford to buy a permit to hunt on these lands! I absolutely agree that if yet want to charge people for access then they need to lose the tax breaks. Enough already! Hunting should be for substance not profit!

  10. Well one thing is they own the land but not the animals, so I believe the state, us the people, should make Weyerhaeuser pay taxes for having the animals on there land because they are states property!!!!!

  11. I’m pretty sure they’re shooting themselves in the foot with this greedy idea of saving money on vandalism, I think what they’re doing is going to make alot of people just angry enough to retaliate

  12. The lifestyle of the outdoorsman who truly cares about the wildlife and habitat is getting taken away by money mongers! Everyone that has any push on taking away the chances of us final few to pass down the original beliefs of the NW men and women to enjoy the outdoors with their family and friends should be ashamed of themselves! Its hard enough to see the downfall of children playing outside. Now the few people who still try to keep the old traditions going can’t even afford to do so because its become a pay for everything society. The rich get the benefits and the normal get shafted!
    Don’t take our youths future away from them do to Dollar signs and a few idiots. Hunting and Fishing are some of the greatest personality builders and they shouldn’t be hard to participate in!!

  13. How fricken wrong is this now… So where and the world are the hunters suppose to go now… It was not like the workers where not aloud t hunt there even when it was closed, so now what. So what is Weyerhaeuser going to do give all the permits to their worker like normal… I really hope that fish and game stop giving them money because now that they wont you go on there with out a permit they should not get NO FUNDING FROM THE STATEOF OGREGON……

  14. WY is following in hancocks shoes, attempting to cover upkeep cost for roads, and new water right-of-way laws…notice a few hundred new culverts last year? but, aside from this, I wonder about all the blm and public land sections that are accessed behind these gates. don’t these timber companies only hold the timber rights? how can they charge someone 300 dollars to look at their hybrid trees??

  15. What most everyone fails to understand is that all of the timberlands Weyco has is private property. This should be looked at the same as any private property owner. Anyone else that had to deal with the dumping of garbage, destruction of property, including the vandalism and burning of logging equipment, which has happened on several occasions, would do the same thing. As for the cutting down of gates, that is also part of the problem.
    As it says in the story, Weyco is still going to allow access to state property through the already established corridors. And as I understand how this is going to work, employees will also be required to buy the same permits that the general public will be issued.

    1. How can they put up gates that block access to to our public land, that would be like if I lived at the beginning of the street and owned the land on both sides of the road and you lived at the end of the road I could put up a gate and you couldnt get to your house? Its the same thing they are doing thats your land they are locking up.

    2. I’ve been out in these woods all of my life and I don’t see dumping and vandalism a major problem, its just an excuse, besides they get huge tax breaks for public access.

  16. Their are several rivers that run through wet co on the coast how can they keep u out of the rivers coos millacoma !!!!

  17. I am a weyco employee and i will have to buy a permit just like everyone else. I think this is a good idea since it will be first come first serve. gives everyone a fair shot.

  18. So know we are gonna have to pay to hunt all the blm land they have locked up behind there gates too its total b.s. they shouldnt be able to lock up public land that our tax dollars pay for.

  19. Wow fair shot huh and then they should pay taxes just like me for my lil pos property i keep a gate on and ill shoot someone that steals or trespases or cots down.my gate i would say good i feel the same way but i can’t take my kids out fishing or hunting anymore its outta control

  20. As I have recently become disabled, I find it harder and harder to find access to places to hunt or fish. I think these big corporate land barons should lose the tax breaks they get when they charge a fee to use their lands.

  21. No big surprise: my dad all ways said : lap it up Buddy Boy. Enjoy the great out doors while you can. Cause eventually hunting and enjoying the great outdoors will be a thing of the past. And you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren “How It Use To Be!!!!

  22. It is private land. We the taxpayers do not have the right to hunt on private land. Saying so, our state then needs to take away the timber companies tax breaks they receive for keeping their land open to Washington State TAXPAYERS. The time is now to take this away.

  23. The legislators are gutless when it comes to timber companies. They continue to dole out tax breaks (b&O, hog fuel, property,etc ) to big timber and won’t even consider looking at what Wisconsin does. That state has a two-tiered property tax system for timberland–one rate for open to public non-motorized, one higher rate for closed or fee entry. Sounds like a fair, smart, idea to pursue in Washington and Oregon focusing on industrial (5000 acres or more) owners. But not with these bought and paid for legislators. Check out Wisconsin’s system google “managed forest law”.

  24. We need to get a referendum on the ballot for the fall election and repeal the tax credits the timber companies get. They are no longer operating a timber business but a recreation area and should be taxed according. Exercise our rights as voters of the State of Washington.

  25. The sad thing is that many family’s and buddies may not be able to hunt together in their familiar stomping grounds because they simply can’t afford the extra cost of the permit…additionally you will need to get the permit before you know the results of WDFW special hunts if you put in for a hunt on Weyco lands just to insure you have access if drawn….and if you happen to get a critter down, you better know a bunch of permit holders if you need help getting them out…also handicapped hunters will need to pony up for two permits if their partner is not their spouse or their kid under the age of 18… on a side note…the Discovery Pass really irritates me too…84% of the fee goes to state parks and 8% each to DNR and WDFW…Why are hunters and fishermen being asked to subsidize state parks…it just doesn’t pass the silly grin test…

  26. We all can voice our opinion but that will not change the fact that we can’t take our kids out to enjoy the outdoors as most of have experienced. My four year old actually started to cry when I told him we would not be able to grouse hunt, pick berries, or look for deer in the woods anymore because someone was going to close the gates so we can’t go to the woods.. I won’t repeat what he said we should do to the guy that is closing all the gates… As a devoted father of two that wants to enjoy the mountain air with my kids… This conversation with my young kids has motivated me to actually do something rather than state my opinion. I will contact the elected officials that have a say regarding tax incentives, referendum on ballots, etc. Even though I have grown up recreating on these logging roads that my family built and used at work and play for the past 40 years… It technically is not mine. I feel as if the rug has been ripped out from under me and my family plans for my kids. I guess it was easy to feel this was MY land when it really was not. PLEASE… Do something about this. Everyone has an opinion. Few have the courage and dedication to take action. I assume that gates will be removed by all kinds of creative methods from diehard homesteading folks. Tearing down ONE gate will not change anything. My kids and I will be in the woods this fall one way or another. My version of church is a Sunday on the top of a high mountain peek on a sunny day without a soul around. No one will take my religion away! DO SOMETHING! ACT! TALK TO THOSE THAT CAN MAKE A CHANGE! WRITE YOUR LOCAL PAPER! GET ON THE RADIO! CALL THE COUNTY COMMISSIONER! Saying everything is doing nothing. Doing something is everything! Sooooo… GET ‘r DONE!!!

  27. 1. Is income from leases and permits subject to the same taxes and fees as other entertainment-oriented businesses?

    2. Regarding “hair-loss” disease on deer, elk, etc. This is chemical poisoning pure and simple – from Weyerhaeuser’s use of herbicides and fertilizers. Even the contractors who apply the herbicides warn others NOT to be in the area during application. Do you suppose the wildlife have a choice? And of course it negatively impacts the watersheds through which this poisonous runoff runs, poisoning aquatic life in all streams and rivers, and all the farmers and gardeners who have state permits to use river to water their plants and animals.
    As well as people who swim in the rivers during the summer!

    Even active logging employees have been ‘accidentally’ sprayed, some of whom have not been able to have any more children afterwards!

  28. Wow this is all CRAP!!! they lock us out of every where, why should people who do follow rules be punished. Most likely those outta state hikers, we run across ALL the time. Plus they’ll come get permit and people that live over here can’t get to hunt. Cause they wana come hike in WASHINGTON… Stay in OREGON for that stuff, we can’t hunt in Oregon unless we wana pay non-resident price’s.

    More money outta our pocket’s, Taxes give them money and I get nothing in return… And beside’s that tags, liscense and everything else already costs alot.. Plus they won’t even open our normal place’s gate or hunting times/dates. Usta be open early and late, now it’s short early and can’t do anything late. BS Wanted to hunt and hike our mountains in our back yard with our family, kids, etc. But now can’t do anything at all..

    Way to go goverment, way to go Weyerhauser.. No wonder kids are such crappers anymore, they can’t be given the open nature experience’s we got growing up.

  29. It is bs that they are doing this to the public.charging $150.00 to hunt.it is like. Communism.the public is being told what to do.and it isn’t fair.they close the gates all year anyway and now they say we have to pay.what about the people who can’t afford it.it is spendy enough by the time you buy your tags and gas.they are trying to tell the public what to do.and what about the hair loss on animals and hoof rot.they are covering it up.it is all because of there sprays and fertilizer there putting on the ground.they don’t care about the public or wildlife.all they care about is there wallet and timber.I think they should give those big wigs in the these big timber company’s a shot of spray and a bowl of fertilizer and see how they feel after eating that stuff.

    1. It is bs that they are doing this to the public.charging $150.00 to hunt.it is like. Communism.the public is being told what to do.and it isn’t fair.they close the gates all year anyway and now they say we have to pay.what about the people who can’t afford it.it is spendy enough by the time you buy your tags and gas.they are trying to tell the public what to do.and what about the hair loss on animals and hoof rot.they are covering it up.it is all because of there sprays and fertilizer there putting on the ground.they don’t care about the public or wildlife.all they care about is there wallet and timber.I think they should give those big wigs in the these big timber company’s a shot of spray and a bowl of fertilizer and see how they feel after eating that stuff.

  30. Yes this is a raw deal! Blame Rayonier who first started the permit system just a few years ago. Their thinking is, if it works in the South it will work here. Unfortunately there is some rich fat cat that will always pay to hunt. Ideally if everyone refused to buy permits the program would go away. The state coninued the insult to the sportsman with the discovery pass. We pay once again pay to use our lands, it basically comes down to another tax. Unfortunately you can’t take away any tax breaks for recreation, it does not exist as I have researched it in the tax codes. The proprty tax they pay is minimual, no breaks. Where they pay there tax is under the harvest tax once the timber is sold they basically pay the tax. More than you can imagine. This system of taxation was modified in the 90’s and still exist to this day. Still no tax break for recreational use by the public. Wether we like it or not this is private property, john q public has shit in his own bed and is now paying the price. Don’t get me wrong I hate this, but I saw the writing on the wall 20 years ago! To hunt or not to hunt. All about dollars now , it is officially a rich mans sport.

  31. Wildamnitt Industries owns Weyco!!!! They have recruited Mill managers from the southeast!!!! They are trying to bust the union that governs all the workers!!!From The Southern mills !!!! They have given jobs to new job seekers instead of hiring or advancing longtime workers!!!!they are working towards making all of our hunting lands to be like down South !!!!They stsrt humting clubs that you have to join fo be able to hunt that property they have been sold the rights to make it a Rich mans sport!!! If you pay that fee you are saying its ok and it will never be the same again!’!!Just like the WDFW reduced the Elk Herds in the St Helens Tree Farm!!! The greedy Hunters will do the DIRTY WORK and KILL off the Animals that MANY PEOPLE want to Flourish so we have the chance to get TROPHY of A LIFETIME !!!!People have to have something to dream about that makes LIFE worth living and working hard for everyday!Dont let these few dumbasses that have no respect for other peoples property screw it up for the GOOD PEOPLE!!!!I
    I AM NOT GOING TO PAY THIS RDICULOUS FEE to HUNT ON WILDAMMITT LAND !!!!

  32. This group represents the hunters, fishermen, and those who want to enjoy the outdoors in Washington and Oregon who stand united against Weyerhaeser’s Recreational Permit Fees. We are working with talking with County, State and Federal agencies and government to resolve these issues. It goes deeper than just the fees so we encourage you to read the informative posts by members shedding light on things the public may not know. We would like to hear from you and share your ideas.
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/PNWunited

  33. Just got back from a Montana hunt. Had a great time. All but one filled their tag. The guy who didn’t was only looking for the mega trophy and passed up several chances. The local businesses were very welcoming and happy to take our money. Saw very few other hunters and we were hunting on public land. Well worth the drive and cost of an out of state tag. We need to stop spending our money here in Washington.

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