Access to Weyerhaeuser’s property around Longview won’t change for the upcoming hunting seasons, though the company is moving to a fee permit system to the north.

Weyerhaeuser has started a limited-entry permit system on its Vail Tree Farm in eastern Lewis and Thurston counties, and company lands near the west Lewis County town of Pe Ell.

On the 155,000-acre Vail Tree Farm, all motorized and non-motorized access will require a permit from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. A maximum of 750 permits were available; all have been sold, according to the company’s website.

On 118,000 acres of Weyerhauser’s Pe Ell Tree Farm, 650 permits were offered for $200 each. As of Thursday, 19 permits were available.

An advantage for permit holders is that Weyco will allow them to camp out on its property, something that is no longer allowed on the St. Helens Tree Farm.

The company also accepted bids for leases for five parcels. High bidders get year-round exclusive recreational use of the lease area and expanded camping privileges, and ATV use is often allowed.

Company spokesman Anthony Chavez said that access to St. Helens Tree Farm, which includes much of the land between Kelso and Mount St. Helens, won’t change this year. The company owns 420,000 acres around Longview and Kelso.

The company allows non-motorized access to its Longview-area land except during times of high fire danger. During major hunting seasons, Weyerhaeuser opens many of its gates for daytime hunter access.

Chavez said the company will evaluate the success of the Vail and Pe Ell tree farm access policies before deciding whether to continue or expand them. “I don’t want to speculate” about whether the fee access program could be introduced on the St. Helens Tree Farm in the future, he said.

Chavez noted that access rules aren’t the same across Weyerhaeuser’s Washington tree farms.

“We want to keep our lands open to the general public, but it’s become increasingly challenging and costly in recent years,” Chavez said, citing vandalism and garbage dumping.

Chavez said going to a permit system allows the company to police those areas better.

“And it’s a chance to create an additional revenue stream that offsets the costs of keeping our lands open,” he said.

Chavez said there’s some confusion about the fact that Weyerhaeuser’s permits are valid for spouses, children and grandchildren in addition to the permit holder.

Rayonier, which also has a permit system for its Fossil Creek property in Pacific County, requires a separate permit for each hunter.

This year, the cost of Rayonier permits jumped to $375, and the company announced that children under 18 wouldn’t be granted permits. However, the company is re-evaluating its no-children policy; as of Thursday, permits were not available on its website.

(4) comments


Weyerhaeuser is a prime example of what's wrong with this country! They bought land that was part of the land grant for the pacific railroad. 900,000 acres were purchased for 6 dollars an acre. They have reaped the benefits from ungodly low tax rates(property and corporate) to lumber tariffs. Currently Weco holds approximately 15 million acres in washington state, which is only 42.59 million(that's 1/3 of our state)and now wants to hold it hostage. If it's rec. lands, lets tax them as such!


Granted they bought the land for a real low price and logged the heck out of it. but it does not give any one the right to haul garbage out there and dump it, or wreck their equipment. So I do get it , But I do not agree with their price tag , for a permit


The garbage dumping is a myth and excuse. Give me a break--these areas have been closed to motorized. Now tweekers are backpacking junk in! They need new talking points. And the property tax break is REAL. Ask any assessor. We homeowners are subsidizing timber companies that get ultra low taxes for providing public benefits like recreation and wildlife habitat. Now they are double-dipping. And we citizens are fools if we don't change the tax laws.


i think this is a bunch of XXX its all about MONEY. dont kid yourself Weco gets a hugh tax break for opening their land to the public. i say lets stop this XXXXXXX. Until they stop double-dipping lets take the tax break away make them pay their fair share of property taxes like all of us have to. i keep hearing we dont like it from wash fish and game but we cant do anything about it. oh yes we can. TAKE THEIR TAX BREAK AWAY AND LETS SEE HOW FAST IT CHANGES.

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