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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

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.

Thank you!

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Location: Bend, Oregon
Joined: 08/27/2007
Posts: 80
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

If its Private Timber Land, they do own the mountain and can charge whatever they want. Just like you can charge someone to use your backyard. There is still plenty of public land and if no one pays their fee, it won't be worth their while to continue it. I personally have no problem with it. It's their perogative as a landowner.

I know Weryhauser(spelling?) was taking one of their sites and doing this. But many others were being left open to hunting. This was/is well advertised and was not something they were hiding.

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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

First, here is the reply from OFDW.

"Oregon, like many other states, has seen timber companies and other landowners begin charging fees to access private property to go hunting, fishing, or for other recreation. We appreciate your concern about this trend; however, landowners have the legal authority to limit access to private property. As we discussed this morning, ODFW cannot require landowners to open their property to hunting, fishing or other recreation. We can (and do) negotiate with landowners for easements, leases, incentives or other agreements to allow access to private property. In some cases, we simply cannot compete financially and are unable to reach an agreement with a landowner to allow public access."

Second, some land that is being locked up is BLM land, and some is land owned by the state and leased by the timber companies. Access to these lands has always been open to the public in the past. The timber companies in return have received help from taxes to build and maintain roads as well as numerous tax breaks and the right to clearcut entire mountain ranges. Now they want to pick the pockets of hunters and fishermen too.

The effect of all this will be that the public is harmed while timber companies reap millions. That should offend everyone but the timber company owners.

exbiologist's picture
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Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2399
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

It is private land, not public. They could just as easily turn that land into a subdivision. With the decline in demand for forest products they have an obligation from their shareholders to make a profit. You have no right to hunt those lands. They extended a privalege to you to hunt so that you wouldn't burn down their forests. These are not leased lands, timber leases on USFS lands are oftentimes restricting road usage, but not hunting access.

And who gives them the RIGHT? It's THEIR land, they do own those mountains. Do ranchers have the right to forbid you from trespassing? I'd say so. Do you have the right to deny me access to your yard. Absolutely.
I'm not saying you should be happy about this, but you never had a right to access their property. Same as if you wanted the neighbor kid to keep off your lawn. Just because he's been walking across your lawn for years, and you tolerated it, doesn't mean you can't forbid him from doing so, or ask him to help with the gardening if knocks over a flower pot.

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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

While some of this is private land, I am pretty certain that much of it is O&C land.

"O&C Counties Historical Information

The Oregon and California Railroad Revested Lands, known as the O&C Lands, lie in a checkerboard pattern through eighteen counties of western Oregon. These lands contain more than 2.4 million acres of forests with a diversity of plant and animal species, recreation areas, mining claims, grazing lands, cultural and historical resources, scenic areas, wild and scenic rivers, and wilderness. Most of the O&C lands are administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

The history of the O&C lands goes back to 1866 when Congress established a land grant to promote rapid completion of the Oregon section of the Portland to San Francisco railroad. The Oregon and California Railroad company was deeded about 12,800 acres per mile of track laid, providing incentive to complete the railroad. The land grant required the company to sell 160 acre parcels at no more than $2.50 an acre to qualified settlers. In 1916, Congress took back the title on more than 2 million acres of these lands after the company failed to sell the land to settlers. Three years later, Congress revested 93,000 acres of Coos Bay Wagon Road grant lands due to similar circumstances.

The Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937 put the O&C lands under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The lands were classified as timberlands to be managed for permanent forest production, and the timber was to be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principle of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply. The Act also provided for protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities."

I am not claiming to be an expert, or even a very smart guy, but I believe that hunting, fishing, and many other outdoor recreation activities should be protected under the agreements the state has with the timber companies. If not, thousands of Oregon hunters may be in for a very rude surprise in the near future.

As I said earlier, I am not CERTAIN about my information because I have nothing in writing yet, so please do not just dismiss this information. Help me to find out the truth by asking the various agencies questions and letting them know access to our local mountains is an important issue to everyone. We do not need to be gouged or locked out by the timber companies.

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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

I hope you will consider this;

You may disagree with my opinion. I may be dead wrong on this issue. Because of this I am only asking that those that may be affected by such closures to ask their officials and representitives about the situation.

This will accomplish two goals. First, it will show that hunters and outdoorsmen and women care a great deal about access to public lands.That is immensely important to us all. Far too often sportsmen are left out of important planning decisions made by government.

Second, if the land closures and access fees are coming our way, it will hopefully prevent people from spending large sums of money for licenses and tags when they no longer have a place to hunt or fish, and hopefully it will bring major pressure down upon those that would turn our hunting on public owned lands into a relic of the past.

osagejake's picture
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Location: springfield, oregon
Joined: 06/16/2007
Posts: 22
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

Weyerhauser is not going to charge fees for all of their lands. Keep in mind that many of the special hunt tags available were requested by them to reduce crop damage to their trees. If they were to restrict access, it would be counter productive to their mission of saving their crop from over browsing.

Secondly, instead of being upset at private timber companies and others (BLM at times) about locking gates, restricting access,etc.. maybe you should concentrate on WHY they are doing so. It's not for profit as you suggest, but rather due to people abusing the lands, through littering, taking atv's off established roads, poaching, illegal camping, etc.

And just an FYI, I put a call into a buddy who works at the local weyerhauser office (management mind , not just a grunt) and he said that rumor is 100% false.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

Rayonier Timber is leasing their land here in WA and it is locking hunters out of thousands of acres. Weyerhouser is also looking to sell off most of it's land up here.

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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

Osagejake,
I hope you are right, but since you feel you are into better info than me, perhaps you can clear all this up for me. An official I spoke with that did not want to be "on the record" said the timber companies had found that charging fees on their eastern holdings was quite profitable, and that they were intending to do the same here.

Your friend may be able to settle all of this. Lots of people would like to know.

Is land being locked up? If so, where, and how much land? Is this O&C land? What about the access fee rumors? Are fees being planned for the near future, or even this year? If so, how much will the fees be, and who will profit from them? Any official statement would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!

osagejake's picture
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Location: springfield, oregon
Joined: 06/16/2007
Posts: 22
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

Well, I can't help you as far as an "official statement" is concerned but I did find something else out after a visit to the local BLM office. The O&C act only applies to federal or state timberlands, i.e. , BLM and Forest Service. Private timber companies are not held under this act. The act was designed to ensure that any federal or state timberlands that were logged, be reforested.

Like I said in the previous post, a large amount of the controlled hunts available are hunts designed specifically for Weyerhauser lands. They requested these hunts through ODFW to control the crop damage that the deer and elk do to their tree farms. If they restrict hunter activity through access fees, then they are literally hurting themselves by not achieving the desired amount of game being killed.

and just because a gate is locked does not mean you can't go in. IF its Weyerhauser and its on the weekend, as liong as they don't have a special temporary ban in place due to fire danger, you can hike or mountain bike in all you want.

Remember, even in public lands, access does not mean guaranteed MOTORIZED access. Get out and hunt!

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Joined: 07/23/2009
Posts: 7
new access fees to hunt Oregon coastal mountains?

I have received several notes now indicating that the rumors are wrong, at least for now. That is a relief, although it makes me feel like a real idiot for listening to rumors.

Anyway, thank you everyone for your time. I apologize for being such an alarmist, but I get pretty panicky when someone says there might be a problem with my hunting!!

Good hunting to everyone!

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