Recently I heard that the local timber companies were locking up their properties in the Oregon coastal mountains to public access and they would be charging hunters, fishermen, and others large fees to enter the mountains. Even hiking would require a permit. I have been making inquiries and everywhere I turn I hear this is probably true, but I have yet to receive anything in writing.
However, I received a call from the ODFW this morning. The gentleman I spoke to was very careful not to say anything official, but he indicated to me the rumors of access fees is almost certainly true.
This is what I BELIEVE TO BE TRUE, but I ask that you do not take my word here. Be active and inquire with every agency and every timber company. Ask for the facts concerning this issue. I have written inquiries to the governor, both senators, the ODFW, both major newspapers, and the local television stations. Please pester all of them for information.
Now, the facts as I think them to be;
It appears that timber companies (Weyerhaeuser and Capital Forest Products) have decided to close public access to hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land in the Oregon coastal mountains so that they may charge large fees to hunters, fishermen, and others that would like to travel or hike in the mountains. Even walking in the mountains will be by permit only. This is a huge issue because the timber companies may have the ability to reap millions of dollars from hunters and others in fees while severely restricting hunting, fishing, and public access over hundreds of thousands of acres. The ODFW official I spoke with this morning does not dispute this. Who gave the timber companies the right to close up the mountains that we own? Who gave them the authority to close us out of BLM lands, or to restrict our access to rivers, or to close roads built and maintained with tax money? Who gave them the right to say we cannot even WALK into the mountains without their permission? Will our Oregon hunting become like Texas hunting, where everyone will need to pay thousands of dollars for a hunting lease? Have private companies been given the right to choose who may hunt, fish, drive, or even walk upon our beautiful mountains and forests? Will the poor be locked out so that only the wealthy may enjoy Oregon's natural resources? Who will profit from these fees? Who will be hurt by them? The ODFW official said the timber companies feel they may make millions of dollars this way, and agrees that public hunting will be badly affected.
I wrote ODFW about the timber companies locking everyone out of the mountains and charging large access fees to hunt, fish, or even visit the mountains, and I received a telephone call reply a few moments ago. Apparently the rumors are true. We are going to be locked out and charged fees. I heard it is around $250 to hunt around Molalla, and that hunting hours are severely restricted. So much for hunting in Oregon. The timber companies will rake in millions of bucks for denying access to everyone except their chosen few. Who will buy a hunting or fishing license if you cannot access hunting and fishing areas? How will this affect the state budget when people quit purchasing hunting and fishing licenses?
I BEG YOU to inquire about this. Tens of thousands of hunters and fishermen, hikers, and others are being tossed out of our Oregon lands by outsiders that have LEASED these lands. They do not own the mountains. We do. Please make everyone aware of what is happening. It must be stopped before it simply becomes the law of the land.