A Walk in the Woods Just Got Expensive in Washington and Oregon

The largest private owner of timberland in Washington and Oregon is now charging access fees ranging from $75 to $550 depending on the permit area. The $30 fees for National Forest and state parks passes look cheap by comparison.

"Timber giant Weyerhaeuser, which controls more than 2 million acres in the Pacific Northwest, is joining the pay-to-play and pay-to-hunt trend. Starting June 16, the largest private forestland owner in Oregon and Washington will begin selling seasonal access permits to hunters, horse riders, hikers and other recreation seekers," report Tom Banse.

The expense of accessing private lands, once an free alternative to the $30annual pass for state parks and thr $20-$30 National Forest pass could send more outdoor enthusiast to public lands: "State fish and wildlife agencies are concerned rising fees will result in additional crowding on public lands."

Protest petitions and Facebook pages have popped up in reaction to the new fees, but it's unclear what recourse anyone has to stop the fees: "Later this month, commissioners in coastal Washington's Grays Harbor County will even entertain an ordinance to prohibit recreation access fees on private forestlands, although Weyerhaeuser doubts the county has the authority to do that."

Full Story: Once Free, Many Private Timberlands Begin Charging User Fees

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